Voting may seem like a simple action, but it takes time, preparation, and resources to cast a ballot and have it count.
Voters may encounter hurdles such as long wait times, difficulty accessing their polling place, or general uncertainty or misunderstandings about how to vote. For some voters, those hurdles may create an environment that feels uninviting, confusing, or outright hostile; in some situations, those hurdles ultimately cause disenfranchisement. Once a ballot is cast, county boards of elections (CBOEs) must follow processes required by North Carolina law to count all eligible ballots before being certified, and results must be audited by the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) to verify the accuracy of the count. Understanding voting procedures and methods, election systems, and election administration provides transparency and ensures voters that our elections are free, fair, and secure.
In North Carolina, voters face ever-changing laws and policies impacting how they vote, which contributes to uncertainty, frustration, and disparate experiences at the polls, particularly for Black, Latiné, Indigenous, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), rural, low-income, disabled, LGBTQIA+, and student populations. For decades, activists and advocacy groups across the state have helped voters by answering voter questions in real time and resolving issues at the polls. Those efforts include fighting against voter suppression laws through organizing, mobilization, and litigation to ensure every eligible vote is counted.
In this tradition, Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), Democracy North Carolina (Democracy NC), Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and dozens of partner organizations manage the North Carolina Election Protection Hotline at 888-OUR-VOTE (the “Hotline”) during each election cycle, receiving thousands of calls from North Carolina voters on a range of topics. The primary function of the Hotline is to be a source of non-partisan, trusted, accurate, and timely information for North Carolina voters. Some voters call for basic information like locating their voting site, while others call to report inadequate curbside voting amenities or incidents of voter intimidation.