2016 Elections and Voter ID

2016 Primary Election Information

June Primary

As a result of redistricting, new lines were drawn for the U.S. House of Representatives.  Those district line are under review by a federal court and are not final.

No Runoff Elections

All primary elections will be decided by a plurality.  Whichever candidate gets the most votes wins.

17 Year-olds

Seventeen year-olds who will become 18 on or before November 8, 2016 will be allowed to vote only in primary contests, but not the bond referendum.  Special ballots will be available for 17 year-olds.

Same-Day Registration

If you are not currently registered to vote in Buncombe County, you may register during the one-stop early voting period.  This is permitted due to a preliminary injunction granted under a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  This option is the subject of ongoing litigation in federal court.  Click on the 2016 Election Information title above for more information.

What are appropriate forms of identification?


  1. A North Carolina drivers license, including a learner’s permit or a provisional license.
  2. A special identification card for nonoperators issued by the DMV
  3. A United States passport
  4. A United States military identification card
  5. A Veterans Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  6. A tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe or a tribe recognized by this State
  7. A drivers license or nonoperators identification card issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or commonwealth of the United States, but only if the voter’s voter registration was within 90 days of the election

Note: The ID must not be expired, except for a voter over age 70 whose ID was current on their 70th birthday. The military and veterans IDs do not need an expiration date, but other IDs do.



What is a "reasonable impediment" which may have kept you from having a voter ID at the polls?

  • family obligations
  • transportation problems
  • work schedule
  • illness
  • disability
  • and others

Claiming that a reasonable impediment prevents you from obtaining an acceptable photo ID you must:

  • Complete and sign a Declaration of Reasonable Impediment Form
  • Provide one of the following alternative forms of identification:
    1) last 4 digits of your Social Security number and birthdate, 
    2) a copy of your registration card, or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document bearing your current name and address.

You will be given a provisional ballot.

"I don't have a voter ID"

If you fail to provide a voter ID, you will be given a provisional ballot with this requirement: you must go to the county Board of Elections office and present your required identification.  Failing to go to the Board of Elections office with your ID will cause your ballot not to be counted.

Partisan Indicators for court of Appeals Candidates

Session Law 2015-292 now provides that ballots indicate the party affiliation of candidates seeking election to the NC Court of Appeals. 


On Friday, July 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down several key provisions of an election law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013.  According to the Fourth Circuit, the North Carolina legislature enacted the challenged provisions with an intent to discriminate against African-American voters.  For that reason, the Court of Appeals said, the provisions violated both the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.  The full Fourth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court are unlikely to intervene in this case or reinstate any of these provisions before the 2016 election.  


 In light of the Fourth Circuit’s decision, North Carolina voters: 


  • Will be entitled to vote without presenting photo identification

  • Will enjoy an additional seven days of early voting

  • Will be able to register to vote at an early-voting site on the same day that they cast their ballots

  • Will have their provisional votes counted if they appear at the wrong precinct within their county on Election Day, for every race for which they are eligible to vote

  • Will be able to pre-register to vote as sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds


    Some provisions of the 2013 law remain in place and are not affected by this decision.  Some, but not all, of the provisions that remain in place include:



  • Absentee ballots require two witnesses (or one, if a notary public)  

  • Each county party chair may appoint up to ten additional at-large poll observers who can attend any voting place in the county

  • Voters may not sign registration forms with “electronically captured” signatures

  • Individuals may not be compensated based on the number of voters they assist in registering to vote

  • Candidates will be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order by party beginning with the party that won the most recent gubernatorial election

  • Voters cannot cast a “straight-party” ballot

  • If the polls are delayed in opening for more than 15 minutes, the NC Board of Elections may extend the closing time for an equal number of minutes.  County Boards of Elections, however, no longer have the discretion to extend voting hours by an hour due to “extraordinary circumstances.”

  • Any registered voter in the state (as opposed to any voter in the specific county) can inspect a county’s registration records during regular BOE business hours on non-election days and challenge another voter’s registration in that county

  • On Election Day, any registered voter in a county (as opposed to any voter in the specific precinct) can challenge another voter’s eligibility to vote


    It is not entirely clear whether one provision of the 2013 law remains in effect despite the Fourth Circuit’s decision.  That provision required every county to offer the same cumulative number of hours of early voting for this presidential election as the county offered for the 2012 presidential election.  There is a strong argument that this provision should remain intact because it was not enacted with a discriminatory intent.  We are waiting to receive additional guidance on this particular issue.  We are also waiting to hear what the State Board of Elections plans to tell the County Boards with regard to their early voting plans.  


    All in all, this decision is a huge victory for all those who believe that the right to vote is a fundamental human right that should be enjoyed by all Americans regardless of the color of their skin.



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