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 DETAILS: Check if you’re registered.
🗳️ REGISTER TO VOTE: If you’re not registered, you can register online through the DMV or register to vote by e-mail, mail or fax. Deadline: 5 p.m. Oct. 9.
🗳️ REGISTER AFTER OCT. 9: If you miss the registration deadline, same-day registration is available exclusively at early voting, which begins Oct. 15 and ends Oct. 31.
🗳️ REQUEST 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.

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. If you requested a mail-in ballot but didn’t receive it within about a week, contact the Wake County Board of Elections.

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.

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.

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

Yes. North Carolina is a state that allows voters to “cure” ballots. The Wake County Board of Elections office will contact you if there’s an error with your ballot so your vote counts. Make sure to provide the best email and phone number on your absentee ballot request form for this reason.

The earlier you request and return your ballot, the more time remains to correct issues.

“Deficiencies fall into two main categories: those that can be cured with a certification and those that cannot be cured,” the NC Board of Elections wrote in a memo.

The state updated the cure process Sept. 22 to make it easier for voters to correct mistakes on the ballot return envelope. Now, ballots with these common errors can be cured with an affidavit completed and returned by the voter. The affidavit, sent by the county board of elections, can address these issues:

  • Voter did not sign the Voter Certification
  • Voter signed in the wrong place
  • Witness or assistant did not print name
  • Witness or assistant did not print address
  • Witness or assistant did not sign
  • Witness or assistant signed on the wrong line

In the case the deficiency can’t be fixed, such as the ballot envelope arriving at the county board office unsealed, the ballot is “spoiled,” and a new ballot may be mailed to you. “If an issue arises and the voter is unable to successfully cast an absentee ballot, that voter may still vote during the in-person early voting period or on Election Day,” according to the NC Board of Elections.

More details, including common mistakes and different ways the process might work, linked here.

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]

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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