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The presidential election every four years brings out the most voters, but still, only 58% of the eligible voters in American voted in the 2016 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 March (early voting starts in February) is a primary election. There is no time like the present to educate yourself, so you are ready to speak up for what you believe in.
- NC State Primaries: March 3, 2020 (early voting: February 13-29, 2020)
- General Election Day: November 3, 2020
Read this quick and easy, non-partisan Forsyth County midterm election guide, so you are educated and ready to speak up for what you believe in on Election Day 2020 in Winston-Salem, NC.
What Are The Primary Elections?
Primary elections are held to narrow the number of candidates for a specific office or to define the nominee for a political party as we head into a general election.
In years when we elect a president (2020 included), NC is part of a group of states that participate in Super Tuesday, the day when the greatest number of states hold primary elections and caucuses. The purpose of voting on Super Tuesday is to make sure that more delegates win for your candidate. Delegates attend the presidential nominating convention and represent your interests.
The Primary ballot also includes local candidates who are up for election, local bonds and laws, etc. So, it is critical to make sure you take the time to vote and support your needs on a local level, where you will feel them much more personally than nationally elected positions.
Sadly, non-Presidential elections tend to show the lowest voter turnout, with only about 40% of eligible voters taking to the polls. However, every election represents an opportunity and responsibility to speak up for what you believe in and shape the future of your local community, state and the country at large.
Primary 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:
- How to register to vote (Primary deadline: February 7, 2020; General deadline: October 9, 2020).
- Missed the registration deadline? Go to a One-Stop Early Voting location where you can register and vote at the same time!
- Where to see a sample of YOUR ballot
- Takes you through the basic details of each candidate, amendment, bond, etc.
Primary Election Ballot Items For Forsyth County/Winston-Salem, NC
- Forsyth County Local Sales and Use Tax Referendum
- Winston Salem Mayor and City Council
- Forsyth County Clerk of Superior Court
- Forsyth County Board of Commissioners (3 of the 7 seats, terms are staggered)
- NC General Assembly (House and Senate) – all seats
- 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
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.
Early voting in North Carolina runs from February 13 – 29, 2020. If you missed the deadline to register to vote (February 7), 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.
The Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 3, 2020. On this date, all votes must be cast in your local precinct. This year’s General Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
- Early voting runs February 13 to 29 in NC in 2020. Find the closest location.
- It’s not too late to register. Same day registration is available when you go to an early voting location in NC.
- You can preview and research YOUR ballot before you get to the polls 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.
- 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.
- Despite what anyone might tell you, you do NOT need a photo ID to vote in North Carolina (blocked by a federal district court)
- There is a proposed local sales and use tax referendum on the ballot. Make sure you understand it, its purpose (to improve pay for teachers) and that many items are exempt from this tax (groceries, gas, RX meds, rent, car and home sales) before you show up to vote.
- 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)
- 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):
- Winston-Salem State University: Anderson Recreation Center (Reynolds Park), 2450 Reynolds Park Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27107
- Wake Forest University: Brown Douglas Recreation Center, 4725 Indiana Ave, Winston-Salem, NC 27106
- Forsyth Tech Community College: Miller Park Recreation Center, 400 Leisure Ln, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
- Salem College: Forsyth County Government Center at 301 N Church Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.
- 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!
- 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.
- Lines are shorter every day during Early Voting than Election Day.
- As long as you will be 18 on or before November 3rd, you can early vote for this year’s elections. So, register now.
- 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?
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