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The original item was published from 11/2/2020 9:38:21 AM to 11/3/2020 7:20:01 PM.

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Posted on: November 2, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Elections Director urges voters to make a plan before heading to the polls on Election Day

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Orange County Elections Director Rachel Raper urges voters who have not yet voted to make a plan before heading out on Election Day. Polls open throughout the county Tuesday at 6:30 a.m.

“Unlike during Early Voting, voters must present at their assigned precincts on Election Day,” Raper said. “This can be confusing for first-time voters in particular, and we encourage everyone to verify their precinct location before they go to the polls.”

Due to population growth in certain areas, Orange County added several new precincts since the last Presidential Election, meaning some voters will use a different location than in years past. Affected voters were mailed a bright orange postcard with their new voting location information included. She encourages voters to use the N.C. State Board of Elections voter registration lookup tool to find their assigned precinct (

Voters will also notice several changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing will be required at all precincts, and voting booths will be wiped down and sanitized after each use.

“Providing a safe voting experience is our top priority,” Raper said.

According to the N.C. State Board of Elections, more than 75,000 votes were cast in early voting this year, including almost 25,000 absentee ballots. Orange County’s turnout was already at 67.4%, the fourth-highest of any county in the state.

In 2016, approximately 4,000 Orange County residents voted via absentee ballots and another 60,000 voted early. The county’s total voter turnout was 71.1 percent, with around 19,000 ballots cast on Election Day.

With experts predicting a higher overall turnout this year than in 2016, Raper said she expects business to be steady on Election Day.

Due to the overwhelming number of absentee ballots, Raper cautioned that final results for some races may not be known on Election Day. Absentee ballots received by 5 p.m. Monday will be included in the results released Tuesday night after polls close, Raper said.

Tips to make your voting experience a success

  • Check your precinct location before you go ( or by using the Map your Trip tool on the Orange County Elections Website (
  • Be in line before polls close at 7:30 p.m. Anyone who is in line to vote at 7:30 p.m. will be allowed to vote, regardless of how long the line is.
  • If you intend to vote absentee, ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 (Election Day). Eligible ballots received by 5 p.m. Nov. 12 will be counted as long as they have a postmark date of Nov. 3 or sooner and all required signatures.
  • Absentee ballots may also be dropped off at the Board of Elections offices (208 S. Cameron Street, Hillsborough) before 5 p.m. on Monday and on Election Day. Absentee ballots may not be returned to voting locations on Election Day.
  • Please follow all instructions on the absentee ballot to ensure your vote will count. This includes a witness signature and the voter’s signature.

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