Wake County voting guide: How to vote, local elections

Voting in Wake County and have questions about the process or local elections on the ballot? Raleigh Convergence’s voter guide is for you.

Ella Josephine Baker is an unsung hero of the civil rights and racial justice movement in the 1960s and beyond. While she worked with well-known names such as Martin Luther King, Jr., her legacy includes registering voters and leading young activists to push for change through nonviolent direct action. She’s a Shaw University graduate (and the 1927 valedictorian). This mural, by William Paul Thomas, is at Trophy Brewing on Morgan Street.

We’re answering your voting questions, which we’ll share in this regularly-updated guide, below. Whether your question is about absentee ballots in Wake County, the Raleigh affordable housing bond or what PPE poll workers will wear, we’re here to track down the answers.

Share what you want to know by filling out this brief survey (which can be anonymous) or sending an email to editor@raleighconvergence.com.

How to vote in Wake County:

🗳️ Registration: Check if you’re registered.
🗳️ How to register to vote after Oct. 9: If you missed the registration deadline, same-day registration is available exclusively at early voting, which begins Oct. 15 and ends Oct. 31.
🗳️ Request a mail-in ballot: Requesting an absentee ballot is even easier now, since you can request it online! or through these ways if you don’t plan to vote in person. Deadline to request: 5 p.m. Oct. 27.
🗳️ Vote early: Early voting begins Oct. 15, and you can find the locations here.

RALEIGH BALLOT: Raleigh’s affordable housing bond, explained.

You asked: When is the best time to go to early voting?

In the past, the first part of early voting was less busy, and the last few days of early voting have been the busiest. But already, people are experiencing lines at some of the 20 early voting locations in Wake County.

But since you can cast your ballot at any of the early voting sites, you have options. The Wake County Board of Elections created this database which has updated estimated wait time data.

On Monday, Oct. 19 morning, there were wait times of 1-2 hours at 4 locations, no wait at 8 locations and the rest in between.

You asked: When will we get our mail-in ballots?

While some states have opted to send actual vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters, North Carolina is not one of those states. You will have to request that an absentee ballot is sent to you. You can do that in a few ways now, and the fastest is the new online portal. You can also use a paper request, available here, but the online portal skips two time-intensive steps of processing, getting your ballot in your hands faster.

Absentee ballots began mailing out Sept. 4. According to AP analysis, Wake County absentee vote by mail ballots take an average of 15 days to arrive. Contact the Wake County Board of Elections with questions.

The state is also rolling out a new BallotTrax portal, so you can track your ballot through the mail. You can track when it will arrive, through the mail and when it’s counted.

READ MORE: How BallotTrax works from request to accepted ballot, a use case.

You asked: If we get an absentee ballot, can we turn it in in person?

Yep! You can hand-deliver your absentee ballot in person to the Wake County Board of Elections Operations office, 1200 N. New Hope Road in Raleigh, before 5 p.m. on Election Day (Nov. 3). Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Monday-Friday.

You can also deliver it in person to an early voting site, which has longer hours and weekend options.

There’s no special line; you’ll wait with early voters in the case others are lined up. Your absentee ballot should be complete and sealed in the envelope. You’ll fill out the absentee ballot return log. Then you’ll be on your way!

When will my mail-in ballot be processed and counted?

If you turned in your mail-in ballot at an early voting site in person, it will be logged at the site and then brought to the Board of Elections office.

You can also turn in your mail-in ballot in person to the Board of Elections office (see more above), where it will be logged.

Next, “all absentee ballots will be presented to the Board at one of the statutory required Board Meetings for review,” according to the Wake County Board of Elections absentee voting team, who responded to our email, “whether it was received in-person at our office, in-person at an early voting site, or by mail.”

Those meetings begin Sept. 29, where the ballots received will be reviewed.

When it will be included in the results: If your ballot is received by 5 p.m. the day before the election, it will be a part of the unofficial results shared before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Mail-in ballots received on Election Day, postmarked on or before Election Day and received by Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. will be added to the official results during the canvass on Nov. 13.

You can track your mail-in ballot through BallotTrax, too.

DON’T MISS AN UPDATE: Our curated email newsletters will send concise local updates to your inbox.

You asked: If my absentee ballot is denied do I get notified so I can correct it?

UPDATED OCT. 16: While North Carolina allows ballots to be “cured,” the process was put on hold earlier this month. Ultimately, the judge decided that while ballots with deficiencies could be cured with a certificate in some cases, if a ballot envelope is missing a witness signature, the voter will need to be issued a new ballot.

The judge’s temporary order keeps the county boards from taking any action on ballots with deficiencies until after end of day Friday (Oct. 16). But, you have options.

“If the voter’s ballot status is anything other than accepted or accepted-cured, they will be
contacted as soon as possible if there is an issue with their ballot that requires action by the
voter,” a NC State Board of Elections email outlines.

If that’s the case for your ballot, you can opt to vote in person. Early voting began Thursday (Oct. 15).

“If a voter’s ballot envelope has a pending deficiency and they present to vote in person, the voter will be given a regular ballot, and their absentee by mail ballot will disapproved,” the guidance says.

More guidance is to come from the state board to county elections boards.

Are there dropboxes in Wake County?

Nope. Dropboxes are not permitted under North Carolina law. If hand-delivering, it must be logged at the Board of Elections office or an early voting site when you turn in your mail-in ballot. [more info]

READ MORE RALEIGH: Raleigh’s proposed affordable housing bond, explained.

You asked: Where can we find information on local candidates on our ballots?

First, the easiest way to see your personalized sample ballot is by looking it up here. There are 128 ballot styles in Wake County alone.

You can also determine your precinct on this map and then look up your corresponding ballot.

Candidate guide resources: Besides the presidential election, several big statewide races are on the ballot. The News & Observer has an extensive and personalized voter guide with a candidate comparison tool; it’s only for subscribers. Common Cause also has a statewide voter guide, though it’s not comprehensive.

Who’s on the ballot locally: The list below includes their campaign websites (incumbent, or person currently in office, also marked).

Have questions for local candidates? Share what you want to know by filling out this brief survey (which can be anonymous) or sending an email to editor@raleighconvergence.com for a forthcoming Wake County resident-powered questionnaire.

Wake County Board of Commissioners District 1:

Wake County Board of Commissioners District 2:

Wake County Board of Commissioners District 3:

Wake County Board of Commissioners District 4:

  • Susan P. Evans (incumbent, unopposed) website not found, Facebook linked.

Wake County Board of Commissioners District 5:

  • James West (incumbent, unopposed) website not found, Facebook linked.

Wake County Board of Commissioners District 6:

Wake County Board of Commissioners District 7:

Wake County Register of Deeds:

Wake County Board of Education District 1:

Wake County Board of Education District 2:

Wake County Board of Education District 3:

Wake County Board of Education District 4:

Wake County Board of Education District 5:

Wake County Board of Education District 6:

Wake County Board of Education District 7:

Wake County Board of Education District 8:

Wake County Board of Education District 9:

Wake Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor:

Share what you want to know by filling out this brief survey (which can be anonymous) or sending an email to editor@raleighconvergence.com.

Author: raleighconvergence

Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen is the editor of Raleigh Convergence.

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