Voter Registration Ends Friday; Early Vote Starts Feb. 15

Voter registration ends Friday for the March 5 primary, and early voting begins Feb. 15.

Same day registrations will still be available during the early voting period, but voters will cast a provisional ballot while their registration information is being verified.

 Absentee ballots became available in January, and must be in the Board of Elections office at 7:30 p.m. on Primary Day to be counted.

North Carolina’s voter ID laws were first used in last fall’s municipal elections, and the March primary is considered by many to be the litmus test for the new law. A variety of official government issued identification, as well as student IDs and certified corporate identification.

Absentee-by-mail voters need two individuals or a notary to witness that the voter completed their ballot. The witnesses must sign the ballot return envelope. Voters who mail their ballots will be asked to place a photocopy of an acceptable photo ID in the sleeve on the back of their ballot envelope. The photocopy does not have to be a color copy, but it must be legible.

Absentee voters who are unable to provide a copy of a photo ID should complete the Photo ID Exception Form, which is included with their absentee ballot materials, and place that form in the space for photo ID.

The primary election will determine the party nominees for the Nov. 5 general election.

Voters affiliated with a political party will be given a ballot of candidates for their party.  Unaffiliated voters may choose the ballot of any one party that has a primary (Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican) or a nonpartisan ballot. The Green Party and No Labels Party do not have state primaries this year.

Local races will feature a number of incumbent and challenging candidates in March. The winners of some of those primary races will be unopposed in the fall, barring write-in campaigns.

In County commissioner District Two, Chris Smith is unopposed for a second erm.

District Three will not see a primary battle. Incumbent Giles “Buddy” Byrd, one of the longest serving members of the commissioners, was the sole candidate to file for the democrat nomination. He will face Republican Salahudin Majeed in the fall,. Both men are from Hallsboro.

The District Four race is a throwback to the last elections, but the roles are reversed. Incumbent Republican Lavern Coleman is facing a challenge from P. Edwin Russ. Coleman defeated the then-incumbent Russ in 2022. Russ changed parties from Democrat to Republican while serving his last term on the commissioners.

In District Five, Democrat Joe Small will face incumbent Republican Brent Watts in the November election.

 Kandance Bullock is unopposed in her bid for register of deeds.

Incumbent Republican State Sen. Bill Rabon, a Fair Bluff native and retired southpiort veterinarian, has no challenger in the primary, but will face Democrat Katherine Randall of Wilmington in November for State Senate District Eight.

For the state House, Rep. Brenden Jones faces no competition in the Republican primary. Edward Squires is unopposed for the Democrat nomination for the District 46 seat held by Jones.

Sample ballots are available for individual voters by locating their voter record in the State Board of Elections’ Voter Search. Scroll down to the “Your Sample Ballot” section and click on the link(s).

Unaffiliated voters will have at least three ballot styles listed. When requesting an absentee ballot or presenting to vote in person, unaffiliated voters will choose which ballot they wish to vote.

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About Jefferson Weaver 1873 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@ColumbusCountyNews.com.