Early Voting for Midterm Elections on Duke's Campus Continues This Week

POLIS leading voter participation effort on campus

The Brodhead Center is getting ready for early voting beginning Wednesday.
The Brodhead Center is getting ready for early voting beginning Wednesday.

As the critical Nov. 6 midterm election approaches, Duke students and faculty are mobilizing to promote early voting on campus and increase student participation.

One-stop early voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the lower floor of Brodhead Center on West Campus. The ballot this election includes contested elections for the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislature and judicial seats.  In addition, voters will decide six proposed state constitutional amendments that affect the tax rate, the filling of judicial vacancies, appointments to the state Board of Elections and other critical governmental responsibilities. 

“Voting is the great equalizer in American politics,” said Fritz Mayer, Sanford School professor and director of POLIS: The Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service. “Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, regardless of race or religion, regardless of ideology or party, every voter has a say in who represents us in government.  

“That alone separates the United States from so many nations around the globe.  And that alone should be enough to inspire every member of our Duke community -- students, staff and faculty -- to make their voice heard.”

POLIS is leading the effort to publicize the early voting site and to improve the participation rate in the midterm election, which traditionally is significantly lower than that for presidential elections. This is particularly true of student voting: The 2014 elections attracted just 17 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds.

POLIS’ work includes building the “Duke Votes” website, which provides information about voting in all states, to assist students who are registered outside of North Carolina. The unit has also posted publicity posters across campus identifying the early voting site. And it is collaborating with a range of student organizations across the political spectrum on a “Party at the Polls” all-day event in conjunction with the first day of early voting on Oct. 17.

The discussions have an academic component as well. Students in Mayer’s Democracy Lab class are exploring ways to improve voter registration procedures.

The Brodhead Center is one of Durham’s six early voting sites for the Nov. 6 election.  The schedule for the early voting sites, as well as a map, can be found here. A sample ballot for your precinct can be found here.

Early voting allows Durham County residents to avoid election day delays, vote at times most convenient for them and do “same-day registration.”  An identification document is required when using Same Day Voter Registration during early voting. 

For students living on campus, a DukeCard is a valid form of identification. Otherwise, the acceptable documents that may be used include: 

  • a North Carolina driver license
  • a photo ID from a government agency
  • a copy of one of the following that shows the name and address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document.

For those who have not yet registered to vote, the early voting period offers the last chance to cast a ballot in the election.  Same-day registration will not be allowed on Nov. 6. Instead, same-day registration and voting will be valid only at one of the one-stop sites and only during the early voting period.

If you have already registered to vote, no photo ID will be needed to vote at an early voting site. To determine if you are registered, use this online form here.

Early voting will continue at the Brodhead Center through Saturday, Nov. 3. More information can be found on the Durham County Board of Elections website.  The League of Women Voters has additional voter education information and tools at its Vote411.org website.