Here’s what to do if you encounter trouble at a North Carolina polling location on election day

·2 min read
Chris Seward/N&O file photo

Polling locations across North Carolina are open for the statewide primary that will determine which candidates are on the ballot for the general election in November.

Although voting on Election Day can be a display of civic duty for many, there is the possibility that some voters could experience challenges.

Voter intimidation, voter suppression, and other problems could make participation difficult. Here’s what to do if you encounter trouble at the polls:

Document the incident

Whether you are being refused your right to vote or witness an illegal act, documenting incidents could help prove they occurred. The North Carolina State Board of Election encourages voters who want to file a complaint to provide evidence, including photos or videos, though photography or filming inside a polling location is prohibited, according to North Carolina law.

Any claims can be emailed to elections.sboe@ncsbe.gov. Voters can also call NCSBE at 919-814-0700 to file a complaint. Once a complaint has been submitted, it is then handled by the Investigations Division for review.

Notify a poll worker or chief judge

According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, each polling location is staffed with a chief judge who is tasked with maintaining order. If you encounter trouble, consult with polling staff immediately. The chief judge can contact the police to help diffuse the situation.

Call the police in case of an emergency

If you or someone else has been harmed or threatened, you may need to call the police to file a report. Before doing so, take into consideration that the standard 911 phone number is for emergencies only and should only be used if there is an immediate threat to your safety.

The non-emergency phone number for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is 311 or (704) 336-7600.

Have a tip to share about polling place issues? Contact The Charlotte Observer at news@charlotteobserver.com.