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Are you ready for your local election?

The entrance to the Jackson County Board of Elections.
Lilly Knoepp
The entrance to the Jackson County Board of Elections.

Tomorrow is Election Day. More than 110,000 people have already cast their ballot in the municipal elections during early voting, but if you plan to head to your precinct on Election Day, check out these reminders:

1. Check your voter registration. You will not be able to vote if you have not previously registered.

2. What time can you vote? Most polling places will be open from 6:30am to 7:30pm., but hours vary at some locations, so check your polling place hours here.

3. Don’t forget to bring your identification to vote. This is the first year that a voter ID law has been in place in North Carolina. Here are the different types of IDs that you can use to vote.

4. If you are voting absentee, your ballot must be postmarked on or before Election and received by the county board of elections by the return deadline. The deadline is usually the Friday after Election Day but for this election that deadline extends to the Monday after the election November 13.

The extension is because Friday after the election is the Veterans Day holiday so the postal service is closed. Ballots without a postmark must be received by Election Day.

5. After the polls close, the unofficial results will not be available until after all precinct results are reported. Here’s where the results will be available. The official results won’t be finalized until after the N.C. BOE canvass period.

6. Your vote matters. Political expert Chris Cooper at Western Carolina University said turn out isn’t expected to exceed 25 percent. During non-presidential election years, turnout isn’t as high but that means that each vote has an even larger impact.

“So in the late 1940s of political science named V.O. Key was talking about these local elections and he said that what ultimately wins or loses these elections what he called 'friends and neighbors voting,'” Cooper said. “You can really feel this if you're in a small town in Western North Carolina. How does your mayor, how does your council member win? Well, they contact their friends. They contact their neighbors.”

Cooper said he especially sees the importance in the small town of Sylva where he lives. When the Sylva Town Council election is a tie then the winner is decided with a coin toss. A quarter decided who held the town council seat in 2019 and 2015.

Editor's Note: This post has been updated to reflect voting hours of 6:30am to 7:30pm. Early voting was 8am to 5pm.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.