Everything you need to know before heading to the polls on Primary Day - March 15th, 2016
Let Your Voice be Heard!
It’s something you only get to do once every four years - help decide the next President of the United States. On Tuesday, March 15th, that contest gets a little closer here in North Carolina. That’s because it’s primary day. Registered Democrats and Republicans will take to the polls to choose who they want to represent their party in November.
The March 15th primary is also used to help narrow down the race for North Carolina’s governor, U.S. Senate seats, the legislature, and county positions.
This year there are a couple changes you’ll want to know about.
FIRST- you MUST bring your ID with you to the polls if you plan on voting. The March 15th primary is the first time the North Carolina Voter ID law will be in place.
A student ID or a gym membership with your picture on it won’t work. You must have a government-issued ID if you want to vote.
SECOND- if you care about who represents you in Congress, you’ll have to head to the polls again in 3 months.
Why you ask? I’ll try to make sense of it all.
Four lawsuits have challenged district maps (the area in which you vote) from 2011, saying mapmakers created more majority African American districts than legally necessary by splitting counties.
Last month, federal judges threw out two of the districts saying legislators weren’t justified in using race so much. The judges told the General Assembly to come up with new maps. Because of this, there wasn’t enough time to hold a new congressional filing period and print new ballots in time for the March 15th primary. So June 7th is the new congressional primary date.
With two primaries, your vote becomes even more important now. No matter how many votes the top candidate receives, they will move on. No matter what. It’s basically winner takes all.
In the past, the top two candidates would advance to a runoff if neither got above 40% of the vote. However, officials don’t want a potential five elections over eight months.
So, someone could possibly only get 37% of the vote and that’s who will help make decisions that affect you! Is that really something you want? I sure hope not.
It's Your Responsibility - Vote!
Make sure to get out and vote! Polls are open all day on Tuesday March 15th. If you don’t know where you are supposed to vote at, just head to https://vt.ncsbe.gov/voter_search_public/ and enter your name. Simple as that.
- Spencer Collins