Elections Guide: Forsyth County NC General Election 2020

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Voter Guide 2020The presidential election every four years brings out the most voters, but still, only 58% of the eligible voters in American voted in the 2016 general election. Many countries don’t even give their citizens the right to vote but we are lucky, and it’s time we acted like it!

This November (mail-in voting started in September and early voting starts in October) is a general election. There is no time like the present to educate yourself, so you are ready to speak up for what you believe in.

  • General Election Day: Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Read this quick and easy, non-partisan Forsyth County election guide, so you are educated and ready to speak up for what you believe in on Election Day 2020 in Winston-Salem, NC.

Election Guide 2020 For Forsyth County, NC

I have always found it difficult to obtain easy-to-understand information about the candidates and the ballot for MY VOTE. Sure, I can find general info, but I always find myself at the poll being asked to vote for things and people I did not know would be on the ballot. So, I am faced with making a non-educated guess, skipping or making a choice based on gender, name familiarity, etc.

I was thrilled to find a better way this year. Women of Action Winston-Salem recently put together a non-partisan voter guide (link below) that starts by clearly explaining:

General Election Guide – November 2020

Primary Election Ballot Items For Forsyth County/Winston-Salem, NC

  • Winston Salem City Council and Mayor
  • Forsyth County Board of Commissioners (3 of 7 seats, staggered terms)
  • NC District Court Judges
  • NC General Assembly (House and Senate) – all seats
  • NC Supreme Court Justices and Court of Appeals Judges
  • NC Treasurer, Superintendent, Secretary of State, and Auditor
  • NC Commissioners of Labor, Agriculture, and Insurance
  • NC Attorney General
  • NC Governor and Lt. Governor
  • US House of Representatives – all seats
  • US Senate – one seat
  • US President and Vice President

Register To Vote

On Election Day, you cannot vote unless you have registered. But, if you come out for early voting, you can still register at the polls. While this is not true in every state, NC allows this helpful convenience.

Mail-In Ballot Voting

An absentee mail-in ballot is always available in the state of North Carolina, but it has become even more critical for the 2020 Election in light of health concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

An absentee ballot gives you the option to vote by mail but you can also change your mind, deciding to vote in person (early or on Election Day), so long as you have not already submitted your ballot. The Board Of Elections recommends that you bring your incomplete ballot along with you if you do decide to vote in person to prevent any possible question about the status of your vote.

You can request a mail-in ballot online or by completing and submitting a ballot request form. The deadline for mail-in ballot request is October 27, 2020, at 5 pm.

You can submit your absentee ballot by mail or in person to your local Board of Elections (BOE). The BOE recommends that you mail your ballot by October 15 to ensure it is received before the election. If you are unable to mail it back by October 15, consider submitting your ballot in person at the Forsyth County Board of Elections (201 N. Chestnut St, Winston Salem, 27101) or at an early voting site.

NC has a wonderful online service that allow you to track your ballot with Ballot Trax.

Early Voting

Early voting in North Carolina runs from October 15-31, 2020. If you missed the deadline to register to vote (October 9), you can still register when you come to your early vote location. Regardless of your precinct, during early voting, you can go to any early voting site in the county.

Election Day

This year’s General Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. On this date, all votes must be cast in your local precinct.

Voting Tips

  1. Early voting runs October 15 to 31 in NC in 2020. Find the closest location.
  2. It’s not too late to register. Same day registration is available when you go to an early voting location in NC.
  3. You can preview and research YOUR ballot before you vote here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/ No surprises and you’ll feel confident in your choices. You can even print it out and bring a copy with your marked selections to the voting booth.
  4. Not sure who to vote for, or who’s even running? This non-partisan guide walks you through each ballot option so you are prepared.
  5. Despite what anyone might tell you, you do NOT need a photo ID to vote in North Carolina (blocked by a federal district court)
  6. When you vote early, your name is removed from all marketing lists for this election. Translation: fewer phone calls, texts and junk mail! (This may take a few days to work through the systems)
  7. Attention College Students! You can register and vote using EITHER their home address or at your college address.
    Here are the closest early voting locations to your campus (subject to change):
    1. Winston-Salem State University: Anderson Recreation Center (Reynolds Park), 2450 Reynolds Park Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27107
    2. Wake Forest University: Brown Douglas Recreation Center, 4725 Indiana Ave, Winston-Salem, NC 27106
    3. Forsyth Tech Community College: Miller Park Recreation Center, 400 Leisure Ln, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
    4. Salem College: Forsyth County Government Center at 301 N Church Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.
  8. In NC, kids are allowed in the voting booth with parents. So take your kid to vote to inspire our next generation of voters and engaged citizens!
  9. If you are handicapped, sick, or otherwise unable to leave your car, you can request curbside voting. All you have to do is go to the voting location and a poll worker will come out to help you.
  10. Lines are shorter every day during Early Voting than Election Day.
  11. As long as you will be 18 on or before November 3rd and have lived in NC for at least 30 days, you can vote (and early vote) for this year’s elections. So, register now.
  12. Take a photo and tag #MYWS to show off your civic action.

Have you already or are you planning to vote? If not, is anything preventing you from being able to?

About The Author:

Born right here in Winston-Salem, NC, at Forsyth Memorial Hospital, Michelle is a native. At age one she moved to Virginia but after spending 30+ years moving around Virginia, Tennessee, Massachusetts, California and even Paris, France, Michelle returned home to Winston-Salem in 2004. A job at Hanes brought her here but the heart of the city has kept her here.

Her favorite things about Winston-Salem are its welcoming people who call it home, its art-centric culture, and its perfect location at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains and a short drive to the beaches of the Atlantic. The lack of traffic is a pretty tremendous asset as well, especially since it gives her more free time to enjoy cooking and playing with her dogs, Lily and Barley. Michelle is one of the many residents of this great city who are thrilled to call this "My Winston-Salem"!

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