Are you Ready to Primary?

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It seems that 2016 has kicked off with a bang. We’ve heard about Justin Bieber’s new hair color, lost David Bowie, witnessed the interview of El Chapo and even scrambled to get our hands on billions of dollars in the lottery.

While all this was going on it seems that North Carolinian’s may have forgotten that we should be getting our ducks in order.

You see, in less than 90 days we will be a key force in whether or not some politicians have a fighting chance in the November election.

I know. I know.

I can hear you now saying that November is so far away. But the general primary that narrows down those candidates is not.

Our friends in Raleigh have upped the date of the general primary from May 15 to March 15.

(I’ll wait while you check your calendar and see exactly how close that date really is. See it? Good.)

The combined primary will include presidential and statewide candidates which does two things for the state:

  • Makes North Carolina a winner take all state for presidential nominees, especially for the RNC with a combined 72 delegates. Upping the primary date makes North Carolina key decision maker in who would become president. In other words we are just as important as Iowa, Ohio and South Carolina.
  • Make North Carolina a key stumping state, bringing in millions of dollars when it comes to advertising.

The reasoning for this decision? To save money of course. Having two primaries would be too costly for the state and its voters.

That means that voters should have everything in order well before March 15 so they can show up to the polls prepared.

Speaking of which, there’s this little matter of identification that may be an issue for some. With the recent revisions to the state’s voting law there may be some changes at the polls.

First, same-day registration is still a go … for now.

Voters who aren’t registered in a county may register to vote during the ones-stop early voting period. Due to a preliminary injunction granted under a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Of course, this subject is still in federal court. So for now, complete a registration application, have proof of address (something dated within the last two months like a light bill, bank statement, check stub, etc.) with your current name and address.

Second, the option to vote straight party is no longer available.

This means that voters must vote for each candidate individually. It also means that voters must educate themselves on the candidates and their platforms. Let’s not going in there voting for someone because their name sounds familiar and I don’t want to see anyone pulling any “eenie meenie miney mo” shenanigans at the polls. Know your stuff people. These are the people who are making some crucial decisions for us and we shouldn’t take placing them into office lightly.

Lastly, have photo identification.

A federal judge has refused the preliminary injunction that would have blocked the requirement for photo identification to vote from taking effect in March. Which means that you HAVE TO SHOW PHOTO IDENTIFICATION. Specifically, an unexpired driver’s license, passport or passport ID card, a Veteran’s Affairs card, a military service identification card and even a tribal enrollment card. Out of state identification cards and driver license will only be taken if the voter registered to vote within 90 days of the election.

While the trial to determine whether or not the requirement is unconstitutional, intentionally discriminatory and a burden on minority groups doesn’t kick off until Jan. 25, that doesn’t mean it would be settled by March 15.

To my friends who insist that their not going to vote … Stop being stupid. I don’t care who you vote for. My only concern is that you let your voice be heard. You can’t complain about the government when you did nothing that could offer up change. Don’t silence yourselves when there are some many other people out here trying to do that for you. Call me a rebel but I feel that if someone’s working so hard for me not to do something I probably should go ahead and do it.

While you continue to check your Powerball numbers, talk about the Panthers season or entertain the Oscar’s and their snubs, be sure that your paper work is in order to make sure your vote matters.

I’m just saying.

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