The Republican second primary in the 11th Congressional District will take place as planned on June 23, with significant safeguards to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
All three voting options in North Carolina – absentee by-mail, in-person early voting and in-person voting on Election Day – will be available to eligible Republican and unaffiliated voters in the district.
County boards of elections in the 17 counties that make up the district (see attached map) will begin mailing absentee ballots to voters who request them on Friday, May 8. The last day to request a ballot by mail is Tuesday, June 16. The in-person early voting period runs from June 4 to June 20. On Election Day, June 23, polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The contest – North Carolina’s only second primary in 2020 – is between Republicans Lynda Bennett and Madison Cawthorn, who are vying for the GOP nomination for U.S. House District 11. The winner will face Democrat Moe Davis, Green Party candidate Tamara Zwinak and Libertarian Tracey DeBruhl in the November 3 general election.
Significant precautions will be taken to protect in-person voters and poll workers at early voting sites and Election Day precincts. They include:
- Masks available for all poll workers and voters who do not bring their own.
- Single-use pens for voters to mark their ballots.
- Single-use cotton swabs for voters using touchscreen voting machines.
- Enforced social distancing for all poll workers and voters, including markings or barriers to prevent voters in line from standing too close together.
- Hand sanitizer for voters and poll workers.
- Face shields and gloves for poll workers.
- Protective barriers between poll workers and voters at check-in tables.
- Special sanitation kits at each precinct to ensure poll worker protection and clean tables, voting booths and voting machines throughout the voting process.
- Thorough cleaning of voting sites before and after the election.
“Voters should not fear disease when they cast their ballot. We want them to know that elections officials are taking many steps to protect them and their fundamental right to vote in this second primary,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Efforts during this second primary will help us better prepare for any disease pandemic we may face in November.”
Who is eligible to vote?
All registered Republicans who live in the 11th Congressional District may vote in the second primary. Also eligible to vote in the election are unaffiliated voters who live in the 11th District who either did not vote in the March primary, or voted a Republican ballot style in the primary.
Unaffiliated voters who voted a nonpartisan, Democratic, or Libertarian ballot style in the first primary may not participate in the second primary.
Eligible voters can access their sample ballot through the voter lookup tool here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/
Absentee by-mail voting
Any eligible voter may request an absentee ballot through June 16, 2020. No excuse is needed. Any voter eligible to vote in the second primary who indicated on their absentee application for the March 3 primary that he or she would like an absentee ballot for the second primary will automatically be sent an absentee ballot.
To request a ballot, eligible voters must complete an absentee ballot request form and return it by mail or in-person to their county board of elections. To find your county board of elections, go here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/BOEInfo/.
To learn more about how to vote by mail, go here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Outreach/Absentee/Infosheet_howtoabsentee_FINAL%20(2).pdf.
In-person early voting
The early voting period for the June 23 second primary is June 4 to June 20. Sites and hours are available here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/.
Any registered voter may cast their ballot at any one-stop site in the county. Under state law, voter registration is not permitted between the first and second primaries. This means same-day registration is not available during early voting for the second primary. Voters may make name and address changes during the early voting period but may not change their party affiliation.
Note: These registration restrictions apply only to voters in the 11th Congressional District. Voters outside of the district may register and update their registrations without these limitations.
Election Day voting
Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 23. Many counties in the district are modifying Election Day polling locations for this election. They will mail notices to all voters affected by the changes.
For more information about the State Board’s response to the pandemic, please visit NCSBE.gov/Coronavirus and follow the State Board on social media. Please also see the NCSBE’s “10 Facts About Voting in North Carolina During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”