It has been exactly 100 years, and a few days, since our Suffragist grandmothers and a few supportive grandfathers secured for us the right—and the responsibility—to vote. The struggle took them 75 years of local organizing, meetings, sign-making, marches, and speeches to men in power and the public to achieve that result. It was NOT an easy achievement! We should honor their diligence and perseverance by voting!
And it is now less than 50 days until the 2020 election that many are calling the most consequential election in our lifetimes.
Are you READY TO VOTE?
There is well-organized, comprehensive information about how and where to vote, sample ballots, and candidates’ statements at the League of Women Voters site: www.vote411.org. The League of Women Voters was formed as an outgrowth of the Suffrage movement, and it shows. They have been helping people to prepare to vote for 100 years and have perfected the system. You can probably get all of your questions answered on this site. Another source for information is to call the office of your County Board of Elections. Find their contact information in the top right corner on the NC State Board of Elections site, www.ncsbe.gov/ .
□ Are you Registered to vote and is your registration up to date? (Have you moved or changed your name since the last election?) Go here to check: www.ncsbe.gov/ and type in your name, year of birth, and county. You can only vote in the county in which you are registered.
Requirements to register to vote are:
1. A U.S. citizen (provide drivers’ license or ID, last 4 of Social Security Number, utility bill, bank statement, pay check stub, or government document that shows your name and address)
2. 18 years old by Election Day
3. Resident of NC, county, and precinct 30 days prior to Election Day
4. Not registered to vote anywhere else
5. Not a felon (or have completed restitution)
□ If you are NOT registered, the registration deadline is October 9.
Registered voters in NC are NOT required to show voter ID at this time.
1. You can register at the www.ncsbe.gov/ site by downloading and printing the form and mail it to your county Board of Elections (addresses and instructions are attached to the form.)
2. You can register online using the www.ncsbe.gov link to NCDOT if you have a NC Drivers’ License or NCDOT ID. It takes 2 minutes!
3. You can register at an Early Voting site when you vote, even though it is after the October 9 deadline. Early voting is available from October 15 – October 31, 2020 for the November 3 election.
□ How and Where do you plan to vote?
Voters in NC are NOT required to show voter ID at this time
There are 3 choices for voting:
1. On November 3, 2020, vote in person at your polling place. Find your polling place at www.ncsbe.gov/ , type in your address.
2. Vote in person at any early voting site from October 15 to October 31, 2020. Locations and hours at www.ncsbe.gov/ You can also register (or update your registration) at these early voting sites at the same time you vote.
3. Vote by mail (aka Absentee Ballot) You do not need an excuse. You do not need to be absent from your home or the state. This method keeps you healthy and safe during the pandemic. By voting at home, you have time to research candidates while you vote, so you are an informed voter. Americans have been voting by mail since the Civil War! As a military wife, I voted by mail for 25 years.
►Request a ballot immediately. Get the request form at www.ncsbe.gov/ Click on “Absentee Ballot Request Form”. Print it out, complete it, and mail it to your County Board of Elections. Instructions and addresses of County Boards of Elections are included with the form. Add first class postage ($ .55) to ensure quick delivery. The State Board of Elections will begin mailing out ballots to fill these requests on September 4.
►Complete your ballot. Double check the instructions, and mail it in the envelope provided with the ballot, to your County Board of Elections as early as you like, but no later than October 25, to be sure it arrives at the Board of Elections in time to be counted. (If you procrastinate, the ballot can be postmarked on Election Day, November 3, but MUST be received no later than 3 days after the election.) Even though the envelope you receive with your ballot is postage-paid, it will be safest to add a first class stamp ($ .55) to ensure your ballot reaches the County Board of Elections by the deadline, since leadership changes are causing some disruption in the US Postal Service at this time.
►If you are concerned about Election Security that is being discussed in the national news, there is a link at www.ncsbe.gov/ (under About Elections) to a document that details: “10 Facts about Election Security in NC”. It will make you more confident that your ballot will be secure during the mail-in process. You can also track your ballot online after you mail it. At least five states have conducted 100% Ballot by Mail voting for several years with zero fraud. My friend loves the ease of that process in Washington state. This year there are 9 states voting totally by mail. In a national study over 20 years and 250 million mail in ballots, there were 143 criminal convictions for fraud…certainly not enough to change the outcome of any race.
Our grandmothers achieved “Votes for Women” 100 years ago.
Honor and celebrate this Centennial.
Let’s get 100% of our Clubwomen to VOTE!