UPDATE: 4/26/2016: I discovered after the fact, that my provisional ballot was not counted, and was illegally discarded without sufficient cause.
I just voted early in NC without an ID. Here are all the things I was surprised by.
You can vote early.
If you can vote early, why would you vote on any other day? As far as I can tell, there is no downside to voting early, unless you want to wait in long lines. If you’re planning to vote, vote early. Why doesn’t every state do this? It’s a no-brainer. It’s cheaper, easier, faster, less-stressful, etc. The only reason I can think of to not allow early voting is to cut down on phantom cost, or to tip the scales unfairly toward one party or another. Since it’s harder for many people to vote on one particular day, early voting makes voting more representative.
You can vote without an ID, but it’s really difficult.
I was told by a whole bunch of people that you can not vote in NC without an ID. This is not true. If you want a human-readable summary of the rules because you’re planning to vote without an ID, I recommend NCVoter.org
If you are unaffiliated with a party, you can vote in either primary.
To vote without ID, you have to know that you can use a “provisional ballot”.
While at the voting center, I was told twice by two different people that I could not vote because I didn’t have an ID. When I asked whether I could submit a provisional ballot (just as good as a real ballot) they said yes and sent me somewhere special to fill out the provisional ballot paperwork. I can imagine most people being discouraged at one of the first two rejections and not continuing on. I was armed the knowledge that voting without an ID is allowed, so I was able to make it through. The attendants tried really hard to serve me nicely, but despite their best efforts, I felt like I was doing something wrong the entire time.
Provisional ballots *are* counted on voting day.
Parking was easy, and lines were short.
Voting should be done online
The one overwhelming slap-in-the-face part of voting that is broken is the fact that it can’t be done online. There was no part of this process that required my physical presence to be completed. Taking time to drive somewhere and wait in line was a colossal waste of time, cost, and effort. If the IRS can figure out how to collect taxes online, then the bureau of voting (or whatever it’s called) should be able to figure out how to accept votes online.
UPDATE: The rest of this piece was written on 4/26/2016 after i discovered that my vote wasn’t counted.