Early voting in North Carolina for the 2020 primary began on Thurs, Feb. 13 and will continue until Sat, Feb. 29. During this period, voters can vote at any voting site in their county, including the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s (UNCG) Kaplan Center for Wellness.
Landon Mitchell, a fourth year student at UNCG studying choral music education, visited the UNCG Kaplan Center to vote on the first day of early voting.
“It was both out of convenience and necessity,” said Mitchell when asked why he voted early. “The NC primary date is March 3, which happens to be over UNCG’s spring break and I (and I imagine others) will be out of town on that date!”
While the state voter registration deadline was Feb. 7, same-day registration can be completed during early voting to change name or address. In order to complete same-day registration, voters must bring a North Carolina driver’s license or other form of government issued identification, or a bill or paycheck that shows proof of address. Students using this service must show their student ID, as well as proof of living on campus.
“I believe it is critical that UNCG students vote. Voting is a right of all people and college students could bring about significant change in government through a process that takes less than 30 minutes,” said Mitchell. “The voting site at the Kaplan Center makes it VERY convenient for students.”
Absentee ballots can be requested until Feb. 25 to be returned by on election day on Tues, March 3. This date is also known as Super Tuesday due to the amount of primaries taking place nationwide. On all voting dates, voters will not just be casting ballots using Guilford County’s new paper system, which voters fill in by hand and then feed into a scanner.
“I posted about voting on Instagram because I believe it is extremely important to exercise your right to vote and let your voice be heard. Our democracy functions best when people get out and vote,” said Mitchell. “I also posted just to spread awareness of the start of early voting to people who might not have been aware.”
North Carolina has a semi-closed primary, meaning that voters may only vote for a party’s candidate if they are registered to that party or if that party has opened its primary to unaffiliated voters.
As of Thurs, Feb. 13, there’s still a wide range of choices for voters to consider for their choice of Democratic presidential nominee. These candidates include: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Mike Bloomburg. Andrew Yang ended his candidacy shortly after the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11, which was won by Sanders.
“The hashtag #NotMeUS is a slogan of the Bernie Sanders campaign,” said Mitchell, who included the hashtag in his Instagram post made calling for people to vote. “His campaign speaks to the largest, most diverse coalition through empowering the poor and working classes through a grassroots movement and is who I cast my vote for.”
Bloomberg stopped in Greensboro on Thurs, Feb. 13 to celebrate the first day of early voting. Bloomberg drew a crowd of around 300, many of whom were dismayed when Bloomberg referred to the city as “Gainsboro” during his speech. He also addressed crowds in Raleigh and Winston-Salem.
The Democratic presidential primary is not the only issue on the ballot. Greensboro voters will also be considering. Guilford County Commissioners, U.S. Representatives and Guilford County school board members are only some examples that will be influenced by the voting results.
“Research the candidates and offices on your ballot! More than the presidency is up for votes. Local and state elections matter just as much as the presidency,” said Mitchell. “You can find sample ballots online to see who and what positions are up in your district. Go vote!”