Thursday, August 15, 2013 —
“This is a completely new thing the state has implemented, though it won’t become effective until Oct. 1,” Wilson said.
Several of the other major changes made in the act will not become effective until Jan. 1, 2014. These include the shortening of the early voting period from 12-1/2 days to 7-1/2 days, as well as the elimination of same day registration.
“Voters will still be able to change their address at one-stop voting, but there are more restrictions. The voter registration deadline will be the actual deadline now,” Wilson said.
Another major change being made in 2014, according to Wilson, is the decision to not count provisional ballots that are cast outside of a voter’s precinct.
Under the current law, voters could cast a provisional ballot outside of their precinct, and the ballot will be counted.
“Now if a voter comes to vote outside of their precinct, we will have to transfer them to the correct precinct,” Wilson said, adding that it is important for voters to make sure their registration information is up-to-date.
To make registering easier, the state has added to the number of locations that will have voter registration applications available. Currently eligible voters can register at the county board of elections office, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles and any public libraries. The new law adds senior centers and parks and recreation offices to these locations.
The elimination of straight party voting is also set to become effective in 2014.
Under the current provisions, voters had the option to vote for a party except for president and vice president, but the new law does away with this provision.
According to Wilson, more than 40 percent of the ballots cast in Stanly County for the 2012 Presidential Election were straight party, with 12,614 of the 28,939 ballots being cast for a party affiliation.