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The 2016 election promises to be one of the most important elections of the 21st century. It is the year that we elect the next POTUS. To date, the presidential election has been contentious and has many wondering if there is a candidate in the mix who will represent the needs of the black community. It’s very important that we are present at the polls this election, not just because it’s a presidential election, but also because there are very important state and local issues that must be tackled in the coming years, including voter suppression and education.

ALSO SEE: Clinton, Sanders Acknowledge Racism In Criminal Justice System, Ongoing Police Violence

Many believe that our vote, specifically the black vote, doesn’t matter. That’s not true. We elected President Obama by coming out in record numbers in 2008 and 2012 to vote. Additionally, research shows that with the browning of America, the black vote is more powerful than ever. That’s why we have to get everyone to the polls. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you are able to vote in 2016!

ALSO SEE: Trump Rally Canceled After Chicago Protests

You Need An ID To Vote

The ID requirements say you must show an acceptable photo ID to vote inside the polling place. Acceptable IDs are:

  • North Carolina driver’s license or DMV-issued ID
  • US Passport
  • US military or veteran’s ID card
  • Member card of a federal or NC recognized Indian tribe
  • An out-of-state driver’s license, but only if you vote within 90 days of when you first register to vote in NC.

A student ID or government employee ID IS NOT acceptable.

If you don’t have one of the acceptable IDs, you have at least 3 options:

  • Get a photo ID for voting from the NC DMV;
  • Vote by mail using an absentee ballot; or
  • Vote at the poll with a special provisional ballot.

There are also exceptions if you have a physical disability that allows you to use curbside voting or if you have a religious objection to being photographed for an ID. For more details on the photo ID requirements, see www.GotIDNC.com.

Do Black Lives Matter To 2016 Presidential Candidates?

You Can Still Vote If You Don’t Have An ID

If you don’t have an ID, you may vote with a special provisional ballot. Poll officials should provide you with a form that you can fill out explaining why you haven’t been able to get an ID. There will be 8 options that you can check, including:

  • Lack of transportation
  • Disability or illness
  • Lack of birth certificate or other documents
  • Busy because of of work or family duties
  • Lost or stolen ID

This is a sworn statement. As long as you don’t have a silly reason, mock the law (because the ID law is stupid), or just write I don’t have it today, your provisional ballot is supposed to count. You will also have to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number and your birthday or show a voter registration card, utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, or any government document with your name and address. You’ll get an 800# to learn if your provisional ballot was counted.

Where and when do I vote on Election Day?

Your polling place depends on what precinct you live in; the polling location is listed on the voter card you were mailed after you registered. If you don’t have your card (and you do not need it to vote), you can find your polling place on the Board of Elections “page” with your registration by clicking here or at the League of Women Voters site in periods close to an election by clicking here.

It is important that you vote in your home precinct on Election Day. If you vote in the wrong precinct’s polling place on Election Day, your ballot probably will not count. Some people go to an Early Voting center on Election Day, but that will not work unless it happens to be your own precinct’s polling place.

All polling places are open from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM on Election Day. If you are in line at 7:30 PM, you will be allowed to vote.

Who You Are Voting For In This Election

Elections for Municipal & County Officials

Your local city and county governments make decisions about policing, transportation, schools, and affordable housing.

Elections for State Officials

Your state representatives, senators, and the Governor make decisions about education, healthcare, the environment, working conditions, courts and the criminal justice systems.

Elections for National Officials

Your US Representative, Senators, and the President make decisions about civil rights, jobs and the economy, safety net programs, immigration, military policy, and appointments to the US Supreme Court. 

Get More Information

Get information on registering to vote, using your ID and early voting sites at www.NCVoter.org