ELIZABETHTOWN — Officials with the Bladen County Board of Elections are urging registered voters, as well as those who plan to register for the 2014 elections, to become aware of several new laws enacted by the state.
This year, the statewide primary election will be held May 6 and the statewide general election will be held Nov. 4.
The following is an item by item look at the new election laws for 2014:
— Same Day Registration: Persons who are not registered to vote in a county can no longer register to vote in person during the one-stop early voting period. Same day registration is no longer an option. Qualified persons wanting to vote in an election must register to vote no later than 25 days before the date of the election.
State law does not permit voter registration between a first primary and a second primary.
— One-stop Voting: One-stop early voting will now begin on the second Thursday prior to the date of an election instead of the third Thursday prior to the date of the election. Unless a county board of elections requested an exception, the number of total cumulative hours for one-stop voting in the 2014 primary or general election will be comparable to the total cumulative hours for one-stop voting offered during the 2010 primary or general election, respectively.
— No Out of Precinct Voting: Voters who vote on election day must vote at the polling place for their correct precinct, based on their residential address as of 30 days prior to the date of the election. County boards of elections will not be able to count any provisional ballot for a voter that does not vote at his or her correctly assigned precinct on election day.
— Photo ID: Voters will not be required to show a photo ID in order to vote during the 2014 statewide primary and general election period. When arriving to vote, a voter simply needs to state his or her current name and current address. As long as his or her name is on the list of registered voters in the precinct, he or she will be given a regular ballot and permitted to vote.
Voters who arrive to vote in person (during one-stop early voting or on election day) this year will be given instructions that, starting in 2016, voters will be required to show a photo ID when voting in person. Voters will be provided with a list of photo ID that is acceptable for purposes of voting in this state and will be asked if they have one or more of these forms of ID.
If a voter indicates that he or she does not have a photo ID that will be acceptable for purposes of voting, then the voter will be asked to sign an Acknowledgment of No Photo ID. These voters will be given instructions on how they can obtain a no-fee photo ID from the North Carolina DMV.
— Provisional Voting: Whenever a voter is offered a provisional ballot, the election official issuing the ballot will now mark in writing or other means on the ballot that it is a provisional ballot. If a provisional ballot is incorrectly placed into the voting equipment at the voting site, any ballot that is marked as a provisional ballot will be retrieved.
Any provisional ballot that is cast outside of a voter’s correctly assigned precinct on election day will not be counted.
— Absentee Voting: Significant changes were made to the method of requesting and returning an absentee ballot by mail. All requests for a civilian absentee ballot must be made on the State Absentee Ballot Request Form . Hand-written requests will no longer be accepted. The voter or requestor must provide the voter’s date of birth and identification information that can be matched to the voter’s record in the list of registered voters. A voter must now vote his or her ballot in the presence of two witnesses.
A voter may vote his or her ballot in the presence of one witness only if the witness is a notary public.