All signs are pointing to massive voter turnout in this year’s 2020 fall General Election, and that was certainly the case on the morning and early afternoon of Thursday, October 15, as Early Voting officially began across the state of North Carolina and throughout Mebane. For those who made their way to the Mebane Arts and Community Center Thursday morning, they found lines stretching several yards down Corrigidor Drive, and wait times of as much as three hours.
By the time those first voters who were in line just after 8:00 a.m. on the morning of October 15 snaked their way along Corrigidor Drive, up along the sidewalk towards the main entrance of the MACC, and then down another sidewalk towards a back entrance and the main voting center, it was after 11:00 a.m..
By the following day, the lines were considerably shorter, with wait times closer to an hour. But for those who wanted to ensure their votes were counted ahead of time and didn’t wish to risk any holdups with main-in voting, the lines were worth it.
As they waited, residents chatted with one another, looked at their phones, and entertained the occasional person who walked by the line. Candidates such as Ricky Hurtado, running for a North Carolina House seat, and Ryan Bowden, running for a seat on the Alamance County Board of Education, were out and about with some of their representatives, meeting voters. As Election Day - Tuesday, November 3 - rapidly approaches, even more candidates will be making their way to the MACC, attempting to woo voters at the eleventh hour.
In the opening days of early voting at the MACC, representatives of both political parties had operatives handing out leaflets with suggestions on who to vote for. Also nearby were signs representing virtually every local and statewide candidate on the fall ballots, as well as the candidates for national office.
Once voters make their way through the line and get inside the MACC, they find themselves largely alone, aside of a handful of other voters at various stations spread inside the MACC, along with the campaign workers who gathered the voting materials based on last name. Residents are let in “one in, one out” style, with new voters welcomed in once a voter on the other side of the building completes their respective ballot.
Despite the passing of an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution requiring Voter ID at voting cites, a contentious legal fight has ensued in the courts, resulting in the amendment not being in place for this fall’s General Election. Residents who have voted before in the state of North Carolina are not required to bring any form of voter ID to vote, and will not be asked for such identification by anyone at the poll.
For first-time voters who registered by mail, presentation of ID will depend on how much information they provided in their registration application. If they provided either their Driver’s License number of the last four digits of their Social Security number, ID will not be necessary. However, presentation of a valid form of ID such as a Driver’s License, State Identification, United States Passport, Student ID, Military ID, or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck will suffice for valid identification.
Voters without any form of identification who have not registered by mail will not be denied the opportunity to vote. But they will be required to vote a Provisional Ballot.
Upon receiving their ballot from a campaign worker - shielded by plexiglass - voters make their way to their voting station and are handed a Q-Tip, where they punch in their chosen selections on a touch screen. The votes are noted and voters get a chance to review their choices before printing out their ballot and sending it through a computer system, where the votes are formally tabulated. A poll worker keeps constant watch over this computer, and sees each individual ballot being run through the processor.
The early voting period runs through Saturday, October 31. The following local locations offer opportunities for Mebane residents in Orange and Alamance Counties to select their preferred political candidates for local, state, and national public offices.
LOCAL VOTING SITES
Mebane Arts and Community Center 622 Corregidor St., Mebane, NC 27302
Efland Ruritan Club, 3009 Forrest Avenue, Efland, NC 27243
Alamance County Office Annex Building (Auditorium) 201 W. Elm St., Graham, NC 27253
Holly Hill Mall 309 Huffman Mill Rd., Burlington, NC 27215
Kernodle Senior Activities Center 1535 S. Mebane St., Burlington, NC 27215
Elmira Community Center 810 Wicker St., Burlington, NC 27217
ALAMANCE COUNTY LOCATIONS
October 19 - 23 Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
October 24 Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
October 26- October 30 Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
October 31 Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
EFLAND LOCATION (ORANGE COUNTY VOTERS)
October 19-23 Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
October 24 Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
October 25 Sunday 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
October 26-30 Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
October 31 Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.