With a major presidential election looming this November, it’s time to start narrowing down the pool of candidates through the party primary process.

Primary election day is Tuesday, March 3 in North Carolina. But you don’t have to wait until then to cast your vote. Early voting is open until Saturday, February 29.

Need more information about where and how to vote? Check out the important Q&A links below.

Q: How do I find my polling place?

A: Your polling place is available on your voter registration page through the NC Board of Elections Voter Search tool. (See the image below.)

Q: When can I vote in the primary?

A: Election day itself is Tuesday, March 3 and polls are open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and you can ONLY vote at your polling site.

Q: What about early (or one-stop) voting?

A: Early voting is open until Saturday, February 29. You can only early vote at ANY one of seven early voting sites regardless of your address (this is not the case on Election Day).  Those sites are as follows:

  • Board of Elections Office – Hours 8 a.m.-5 pm. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday
  • Cliffdale Recreation Center – Hours 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday
  • North Regional Branch Library – Hours 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday
  • Hope Mills Recreation Center – Hours 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday
  • East Regional Branch Library – Hours 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday
  • JD Pone Recreation Center (Gray’s Creek) – Hours 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday
  • Smith Recreation Center – Hours 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday

Q: Can I still register to vote?

A: Voter registration has closed, UNLESS you early vote. You can register and vote at the same time at any of the one-stop locations until Saturday. You will NOT be able to register and vote on Tuesday, Election Day.

Q: Who are we voting for right now?

A: This go-round is the primary election to narrow down our candidates for the general elections coming in November. In most areas, you’ll be voting for party-affiliated candidates who will then move on to the general election for county commissioners, governor, U.S. Senate, Congress, District Court judges, and of course the candidates for President of the United States.

Q: Can I see what my ballot will look like before I go vote?

A: Absolutely! And you should! Seeing your ballot in advance will help you in determining who you might want to vote for, especially in races you might not be familiar with. Head to the voter lookup page and after you’ve searched for your information, click on the Sample Ballots under your name to see what your ballot will look like.

Q: Why does my ballot not have some candidates I expected to see on there?

A: This is probably because this is a partisan primary election. So you’ll ONLY see the candidates affiliated with the party you are registered as. So for example, if you are a registered Republican, you will only see candidates like Donald J. Trump and Joe Walsh for the President. Or if you’re a registered Democrat, you’ll see all the candidates like Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, etc. This is true for all of the races below that as well. If you are registered as an Independent, you will have to choose to vote on either the Republican or Democrat ballot at the polling place.

Q: I keep hearing about voter ID. Will I need it to vote?

A: You will NOT be required to show voter ID in this election, unless this is your first time voting in the area. If you are asked to show ID, you may request to speak to the precinct captain for further clarification.

Q: Where can I see an official list of all the candidates in all races?

A: The Cumberland County Board of Elections publishes all official candidates that will appear on ballots in the county. Click here to see the report.

Q: Why aren’t we hearing about North Carolina’s primary as much as we are South Carolina’s on the national news?

A: South Carolina will be holding their primary on Saturday, February 29. That date makes SC the first southern state to vote this year, and just the fourth overall (after Iowa and Nevada’s caucus’ and New Hampshire’s primary). Being the first in the south gives South Carolina a bit more attention, as the demographics there look very different from the three states that have gone so far. It may give some indications as to how other states in the region may be thinking.

Another factor “hurting” the attention level for North Carolina is that our primary falls on “Super Tuesday,” the first day where multiple states will be holding elections at the same time. In this case, a whopping 14 states will casting ballots on March 3. That’s a lot of places to share attention in the national conversation. It doesn’t make our election any less important, however. From local elections, all the way up to the President of the United States, every vote cast in North Carolina this year will hold great importance.


Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.