Mail-In Voting

Grant Holub-Moorman

While North Carolinians requested nearly 1.4 million absentee ballots, fewer than half of those have been returned and accepted. Government and watchdog experts continue to express public confidence that mail-in votes are safe and will be counted if filled out properly. 

Military personnel have been voting by mail since the Civil War. This year, some polls suggest that troops' political preferences may be changing.

Workers at the Durham County Board of Elections process absentee ballot requests while maintaining safety during the coronavirus pandemic in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
File, Ben McKeown / For WUNC

North Carolina election officials agreed Tuesday that mail-in absentee ballots returned this fall with deficient information can be fixed without forcing the voter to fill out a new blank ballot. The change, if it stands, would likely yield an upward tick in the number of counted ballots in this presidential battleground state.

This week:  Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham had their first debate. The Democrat's answer to a hypothetical question about the COVID-19 vaccine caught some attention. 

On the reopening front, Gov. Roy Cooper announced elementary schools could welcome back all their students soon — as long as they wear masks and practice social distancing. Meanwhile Cooper's opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, said face covering requirements would be dropped come January if he were to win the governor's race.

Offering insight and making their debut as our commentators are Aisha Dew of Higher Heights and Clark Riemer, former chair of the North Carolina Young Republicans and a staffer in the state House.
 


WUNC has all the coverage you need this election season. Check out our 2020 Voter Guide for information on absentee ballots and more. And be sure to check out our Races To Watch stories for everything you need to know about candidates in statewide and legislative elections. Subscribe to WUNC's Politics Podcast, and follow reporters Rusty Jacobs and Jeff Tiberii on Twitter.

The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted legislation to ease absentee-by-mail voting this year and to make polls safer for in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

State officials have been preparing for a major spike in mail-in ballots since the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March. North Carolina will be the first state in the country to start sending out mail-in ballots this year on Sept. 4, and election officials are prepared to pre-process votes received by mail. 

Courtesy of Joe Troop

Singer-songwriter Joe Troop has been putting out a lot of music during the coronavirus pandemic — including a song he released on YouTube in late April called “A Plea to the US Government to Fully Fund the Postal Service." The song went viral and garnered more than 400,000 signatures to take action to save the post office. 

USPS
Neuershausen via Flickr / https://bit.ly/3498aP9

More than 100 demonstrators converged outside the North Carolina mansion of the postmaster general, protesting the cutbacks, delays and other changes to the U.S. Postal Service that have created fears for mail-in voting ahead of the November presidential election.

This week: American political history was made as Joe Biden introduced U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in the presidential race. Her presence on the ticket might impact voter turnout in North Carolina. Then again, it might not.

Meanwhile, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest dropped a lawsuit against his gubernatorial opponent, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Mitch Kokai of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield from NC Policy Watch discuss those developments, plus: what Postmaster General Louis DeJoy means for 2020, and signs of relief for North Carolinians who are still out of work.


Absentee voter ballot envelope
Flickr / Nadya Peek

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many North Carolina voters are choosing to cast their ballot via mail. Over 90,000 North Carolinians have requested a mail-in absentee ballot so far, nearly five times as many requests as this time in 2016. 

next gen america
Rachel Weber / Next Gen America

Registering to vote is usually an interactive, interpersonal effort, where organizations host registration events at college campuses or churches. But in the time of pandemic, it's changed the way nonprofit organization are reaching potential voters.