Some 17-year-olds eligible to vote in May 8 primary

Staff report

LUMBERTON — Anyone who will be 17 years old on May 8 and turn 18 of before on Nov. 6 is eligible to register to vote and cast a ballot in the primary next month.

The first deadline to do so is Friday at the Board of Elections, but they can also do that during One-Stop voting, which allows a person to register and vote the same day. That opportunity begins on April 19.

They can vote on all the partisan races, but not for the Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County, which is nonpartisan.

“There’s a special ballot for 17-year-olds,” said G.L. Pridgen, director the county Board of Elections.

All voters are reminded that during primary voting they can vote only for candidates in the political party they chose to be a member of when they registered, said Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the N.C. Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement. The parties that will have candidates on the primary ballots are Democrat, Republican and Libertarian. The Green Party will hold conventions later in the year to select its candidates in the General Election.

An unaffiliated voter can vote in the primary, Gannon said, and can request a Republican, Democratic of Libertarian ballot.

The last day a registered voter can change his or her party affiliation is Friday. New voters can register and vote during the One-Stop voting period, which ends May 5, the Saturday before the primary

Voters who wish to make make major changes to their voter registration information, such as changing a name or address, are urged to do so by Friday. Changes will be accepted at the polling site on Election Day, but the voter making the change will be given a provisional ballot that will be held until the changed information is confirmed by the Board of Elections.

To register to vote in North Carolina the voter must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of the state, and at least 18 years old by the date of the General Election, according to the state Board of Elections website. Convicted felons must complete their incarceration, parole, and probation, before they are eligible to register to vote. At the end of the supervised release a convicted felon’s voting rights are automatically restored.

A Robeson County resident need not present any documentation when registering to vote. The resident will be asked to write a driver’s license number or the last four digits of his or her Social Security number on the registration form. If the new voter does not supply either number when registering, he of she will be asked to present a document with his or her address at the polling site on Election Day.

Staff report