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Confusion at the Polls During NC Early Voting

PHOTO: North Carolina early voting has been open for a week now and many polling places report waits as long as two hours for people to cast their ballot.
PHOTO: North Carolina early voting has been open for a week now and many polling places report waits as long as two hours for people to cast their ballot.
October 25, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - More than 800,000 North Carolinians have already voted in the upcoming November election through early voting and absentee ballots. That's 12 percent of registered voters. For many, heading to the polls seems more complicated this year, with changes in districts and the incorrect assumption that they need an I.D. in order to vote.

Marna Foss is a volunteer poll monitor for Common Cause North Carolina in Raleigh.

"Some people have been confused by the news and all of the requests for voter I.D. in other states. They're not quite sure whether or not North Carolina has gotten to that point yet."

Unlike some other states, North Carolina has the same voting procedures as in 2008. In general, I.D.s are not required. A free hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, is available for voters with questions or problems at the polls. Democracy North Carolina is helping to staff the hotline during early voting.

Shamus Brennan is a volunteer for the "Our Vote" hotline. He said changes in residency are confusing for some who are trying to figure out their new polling place and what proof they need that they are in that district.

"Residence is a tricky question for a lot of people, especially students, people who are splitting time between a family and a job. The few, more serious issues we've had have largely been communication issues."

Supplying a utility bill, pay stub or government issued I.D. are accepted ways to do same-day registration and early voting in North Carolina. According to the State Board of Elections, of the ballots cast so far, 51 percent are by registered Democrats, 30 percent by Republicans, 18 percent are unaffiliated and less than 1 percent are Libertarian.

Stephanie Carroll Carson/Diane Ronayne, Public News Service - NC