WEST JEFFERSON-Campaigns for candidates vying for congressional seats could become a little more convoluted with the potential for a second primary looming.
The possibility of a divided election season comes on the heals of a ruling by a three-judge federal court panel and required new maps being drawn up by the N.C. General Assembling. Federal judges then approved the new maps before the changes could take effect.
With the redistricting comes the addition of Avery County to the fifth congressional district.
Although the plan for an additional primary is far from certain and would have no impact on local and state races, it would mean that an additional filing period would be necessary following the March 15 primary.
A filing period for congressional seats would re-open on March 16.
Ashe County voters will still be able to vote for local and state candidates in March and local election officials are encouraging citizens to cast their ballots for congressional candidates as well in the event the courts decide that those votes should count.
In the scenario that the courts determine those congressional votes are null then the June ballots will be binding and will only contain choices for congressional seats along with a few judicial vacancies, said Ashe County Elections’ Director John Shepherd.
“If the legislation passed last week by both houses stands, there will be no second primary for either primary,” said Shepherd.
Dates to remember
March 3: One-stop Voting (begins)
March 12: One-stop Voting (ends)
March 15: March Primary Election – polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Civilian absentee ballot deadline: Voter absentee ballots must be delivered to the appropriate county elections office by 5 p.m. on Election Day. However, such ballots postmarked on or before Election Day will be accepted through March 18.
Military absentee ballot deadline: Voted military absentee ballots from votes qualifying under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act will be accepted until 5 p.m. on March 21
March 22: County Canvass
Other notable information
Proper Precinct Voting The North Carolina State Board of Elections said individuals may vote at any one-stop voting location in their county of residence, but the only way to guarantee your vote will be counted on election day (March 15) is to vote at your assigned polling place based on your residence. Check with the Ashe County Board of Elections to determine your proper poll location.
Voter ID The North Carolina General Assembly has changed the requirements and exceptions regarding the need to present photo identification before voting.
Here’s what’s acceptable:
NC Drivers License/Permit – may be expired up to four years NC Identification Card – may be expired up to four years US Passport/Passport Card – unexpired
Military ID Card – unexpired, if there is an expiration date Veterans ID card – unexpired, if there is an expiration date Certain Tribal Enrollment Cards – Those issued by NC recognized tribes and approved by the State Board of Elections, if they are unexpired. Federally recognized tribes are acceptable if they have an expiration date and are unexpired, or if they have an issuance date and were issued within eight years.
Don’t have one of the forms of photo ID above?
You can get a free ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
You’ll need to gather two document to prove your age and identity, which includes things like a birth certificate, court documents or tax forms and one document, such as a lease, voter registration card or utility bill, along with your social security number. You can bring those to any state driver’s license office or DMV mobile unit and state that you are there for your free ID card.