Jessi Rae Morton
Midterm elections will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, but residents of Guilford County have the option to vote early right now. Early voting began on Oct. 20 and will continue until 3 PM on Nov. 5. There are fifteen early voting sites throughout the county, and most of these locations are open beginning at 8 AM each day until Nov. 5. Closing times vary slightly, so voters should check the Guilford County Board of Elections Schedule when choosing their early voting location. The county also provides periodically updated wait times so voters can plan their trip to a polling place.
A significant benefit of early voting is the option of same-day registration. On election day, only voters who are already registered may vote, but during early, one-stop voting, residents may register and vote at the same time. To check their registration status, voters can use the North Carolina Board of Elections Voter Search tool. For those who are not already registered, early voting is the best option for participating in the midterm elections, since the deadlines for other registration options have already passed.
UNC Greensboro students who live on campus are eligible to vote in Guilford County. Normally, such registration would be done online or with a paper form submitted to the Guilford County Board of Elections, but during early voting, students may use same-day registration as long as they are able to provide documentation of residency. According to UNC Greensboro’s Leadership and Civic Engagement webpage on voting:
A student residing in a campus housing facility may prove their residency by presenting, in either hardcopy or electronic format, any document originating with the educational institution and containing the student’s name and on-campus housing address or facility name (e.g., “Jones Hall”). Acceptable documents may be issued by either public or private educational institutions and include correspondence, invoice, transcript, or a print-out or screen shot from any official registration or housing portal displaying the student’s name and on-campus housing address.
Aside from registration and proof of residency, though, there are other important aspects of preparing to vote. For information about which candidates and ballot measures they will be voting on, registered voters can use the NC Voter Search to view a sample ballot. Those who plan to use same-day registration during early voting can access the same information by entering their address in Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup. Viewing sample ballots ahead of time gives voters the opportunity to research candidates and make informed decisions before arriving at their polling place.
Finally, after votes have been submitted, voters may be interested in confirming that their votes have been counted. In a press release about the primary elections earlier this year, the North Carolina Board of Elections provided information about checking the status of your vote. Although that press release specifically references the primary elections, these vote-tracking options also apply to general elections, including the one on Nov. 8.
According to the North Carolina Board of Elections, if you vote during the one-stop early voting period:
Under North Carolina law, votes by mail and at one-stop early voting sites are considered absentee votes. You can find that your vote counted in the “Your Absentee Ballot” section of the Voter Search database. Simply enter your first and last names and county (if desired) to pull up your record.
If you voted during the early voting period, your “Absentee Status” will show “VALID RETURN,” the “Return Method” will be “IN PERSON” and your “Return Status” will be “ACCEPTED.” This status is typically updated by the day after you cast your ballot at an early voting site.
Your ballot status also will show up in the “Voter History” section as soon as your county completes the post-election process of assigning voter history to your record. This may take a couple of weeks or longer.
Similarly, if you vote in person on election day, you will be able to see your ballot status in the “Voter History” section once the county completes the post-election process. At the time of writing, according to the county’s early voting count, over 46,000 Guilford County residents have already voted early, and with the tools and options mentioned above, we hope that more Guilford County residents–including students who live on campus at UNC Greensboro–can join that number with confidence.