Early Voting "stars" — and starts — today: Especially handy for college students

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Outside the early voting site at N.C. State.

I followed my own advice and voted today. In the Indy, I focused on the wisdom of early voting 1) to be sure you do vote; 2) to help get that bandwagon moving to the polls; and 3) to deal early with any challenges, obstacles or fear tactics that may be coming your way — especially in minority communities — in an effort to keep you from voting.

Here, I want to emphasize how easy it is to vote early — how easy I found it to be, anyway, as I voted over at N.C. State's Talley Student Center — and the fact that students can vote early on campus or at any of the early-voting sites regardless of their family address and regardless whether they've registered to vote.

The picture above is of a wall outside the student center. The chalker was a little over-anxious to vote (!) ... or perhaps he/she meant to say that early voting stars.

I went into Talley, took the elevator to the fourth floor, and within three minutes I had the proper ballot in my hand for the precinct in Raleigh where I live. Then I went to the room with the voting booths, filled out the ballot and put it in the machine. As always, it felt great to cast my vote.

The set-up would've been the same for me had I been a State student registered previously in Wake County.

Early voting inside the Talley Center.
  • Early voting inside the Talley Center.

But let's say I was a State student who'd registered at my family address in Buncombe County, or Lenoir County, or wherever.

With one-stop voting, I could've re-registered on the spot* and voted using my Raleigh (student) address. "Many students have," one of my Cameron Park neighbors, Drusilla Williams, told me when I asked. She's the early voting site manager for the Wake Board of Elections.

When I re-registered, my prior registration would be struck from the rolls to prevent the possibility of my trying to vote twice. (This message is for you, True the Vote.)

Or, say I was a State student not previously registered. In that case, the one-stop system would be tailor-made for me. I could register* at one table and get my ballot at another.

(* To register at an early-voting site, you need to show some form of identification indicating that you currently live in the county where you're intending to vote. A student ID suffices. Or a utility bill. Below, I've copied the ID requirement from the State of Elections website.)

***

But remember, students (and others). This one-stop system only applies at early-voting sites.

It does not apply on Election Day. If you show up on Election Day, and you aren't registered, you're out of luck. (And if you haven't registered already, it's too late to do so and vote on Election Day — but again, you can register and vote at the same time at an early-voting site.)

To register at an early-voting site, any one of the following is sufficient identification (copied from the State Board of Elections website — look for the Quick Reference Guide for Voters to the right):


• NC driver license or identification card • Other government‐issued photo ID

or

• Documents showing name and current address of the applicant:

• Utility bill: telephone; mobile phone; electric or gas ; cable television; water or sewage
• Bank statement or bank‐issued credit card statement
• Government paycheck; invoice; letter; or any other document from a local, state, or U.S. government agency
• Property tax bill
• License to hunt, fish, own a gun, etc.
• Automotive registration
• Public housing or Social Service Agency document
• Paycheck or paycheck stub from an employer or a W‐2 statement
• Birth certificate
• Student photo ID along with a document from the school showing the student’s name and current address

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