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What you need to know to vote in Asheville

Buncombe County Election Services Director Corinne Duncan at the early voting at East Asheville Library in May.
Helen Chickering
Buncombe County Election Services Director Corinne Duncan at the early voting at East Asheville Library in May.

Early voting for the May Primary wrapped up this weekend. Ten sites were open in Buncombe County. Election Services Director Corinne Duncan says turnout has been strong and steady.

“Early voting and absentee numbers actually - have surpassed the 2018 midterm primary numbers, and we’re actually about 60-70 percent of the presidential primary numbers,” said Duncan.

Early voting is the only time residents can register and vote on the same day. Only voters that are already registered can vote in the Primary Election on Tuesday May 17th.

Duncan says the increase in early voting appears to be part of a growing trend.

“In 2018 midterm primary we had 68 percent of people vote on election day, in the 2020 presidential primary that went down to 52 percent. So it will be interesting to see what the trend is for Election Day – this year,” said Duncan.

Voters will be casting their ballots for federal and local elections. Along with five candidates for Mayor, Asheville City Council has 11 candidates on the ballot. Find more about the candidates here.

But not everyone who lives in Asheville will see those candidates on their ballot, says Duncan, “Having an Asheville address doesn’t necessarily mean you are in the city limits, so in order to have nonpartisan races on your ballot you need to be in the Asheville city limits.”  

This year is also the first time that the Asheville School Board will be an elected race. The district is one of the last in the state to make the shift from appointed to election.

The change was enacted by House Bill 400 which was ratified in Fall 2021.

Leann Winner is the executive director of the North Carolina School Board Association and says each board has their own local legislation that determines how members are chosen - and much more.

‘How many members are on the board, the timing of the election, and whether they're partisan,” said Winner.

The Asheville bill changed the number of seats on the Asheville School district board from five to seven non-partisan members. Four spots are open during this election cycle. The remaining three will be elected in 20-24.

The last district in the state to have an appointed board is Thomasville in Davidson County. A resolution to change the school board election to match the rest of the state is currently making its way to the General Assembly.

Early voting ended May 14th. The Primary Election is Tuesday May 17th. Find your polling place Election Day voting here.

Helen Chickering is a host and reporter on Blue Ridge Public Radio. She joined the station in November 2014.