National Voter Registration Day: Here’s what you need to know

Register to vote: Today is National Voter Registration Day

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. In North Carolina, there are over seven-million registered voters.

People filled the sidewalks of New Hanover County’s and Brunswick’s Board of Elections buildings Tuesday.

“Every vote counts," said Jerry Duffy, who registered to vote Tuesday after recently moving to the county. "Get out and vote. I’ve listen to that for years and I believe in that and I don’t want to miss out.”

Sara Knotts, the director of the BOE in Brunswick County says it’s so important to register to vote because it allows you to have a voice in this country.

“Registering to vote is the corner stone of elections," said Knotts. “Without someone being registered, they cannot participate in election, they cannot run for office and you can’t, essentially, participate in the process.”

So who is able to vote in North Carolina? The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) says:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Live in the county where you are registering, and have lived there for at least 30 days before the date of the election.
  • Be at least 18-years-old or will be by election day.
  • Not be serving a sentence for felony conviction (this includes probation, parole, or post-release supervision.)

For more information on qualifications for registering to vote, click here.

Knotts says the she and the staff in the BOE office have been very busy accepting absentee ballots and registering people to vote. She says she appreciates days like today dedicated to getting people to register.

“Having a voter registration day ahead of the elections is really important because we do have a deadline to register to vote,” said Knotts. "We want to encourage people to actually take the step to become registered before we reach that deadline so they don’t have any hiccups when they go to the polls on Election Day.”

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9, but you can register at one of the early voting locations in your county from Oct. 15-31. For more information on voting related deadlines, check out this article.

“For anyone out there who is wondering, or has questions or anything like, that go to the source," said Knotts. “Call the board of elections office, go to their website. I think it’s also important to think about voter registration now not the day before the elections. If you think you might want to register to vote, go ahead and go online.”

Since Jan. 1, over 1,500 people have registered to vote in Bladen County.

In Pender County, 584 people have registered to vote since Aug. 23. But overall, over 43,000 are registered to vote. There are over 111,000 people registered to vote in Brunswick County. As of Sept. 19, over 35,000 people are registered to vote in Columbus County. In New Hanover County, over 172,000 people are registered to vote. Overall, nearly 385,000 people are registered to vote, as of Sept. 19, in our area, according to NCSBE.

If you’re not sure if you’re registered or not, Knotts says it’s very easy to check.

“The State Board of Elections has a voter look up tool so you can actually check your registration to see if you’re registered and see if you need update and if you’re not found, you have time now to go ahead and do that registration early," said Knotts.

“Get out there and vote," said one New Hanover County resident after dropping off his absentee ballot. "Your life depends on what happens to you which depends on who wins and you need to be able to participate in that. That’s what it means to be a citizen in the United States.”

To learn where and how you can register to vote, click here.

For voter registration and voting details for New Hanover County residents, click here.

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