Hickory – First of all, your vote is critical in a primary election. In the last non-presidential election year, only 14.4% of eligible voters across NC actually voted in the primary. This means a small number of voters are making decisions for everyone especially where local offices are involved. In some cases, there are only candidates from one party running for an office and the results of the general are decided in the primary.Why It Is Important To Vote

Second, while in the general election in November candidates from all parties will be on your ballot, NC law requires that in the primary you receive a ballot based on your party affiliation. Therefore:

• If you are registered as a Republican, the primary ballot you will receive will have only Republican candidates.

• If you are registered as a Democrat, the primary ballot you will receive will have only Democratic candidates.

• If you are registered as Unaffiliated, you will have a choice of a Republican or Democratic ballot.

• If you are registered as a Libertarian, there is no NC primary but there may be local offices on your ballot.

Before the voter registration deadline of April 22, it is important for you to be sure you are registered with the party whose candidates you want to support in the primary or are registered as Unaffiliated.

Additionally, many voters will find municipal contests on their ballot due to rescheduled municipal elections. This applies to the City of Hickory and Town of Long View municipalities that delayed their 2021 elections to finalize new electoral districts.

So be sure to have your voter registration complete so you can vote in the primary. If you miss the April 22 deadline you can still register to vote during early voting on the day you vote; but you cannot change your party affiliation at early voting and you cannot register on May 17, our next election day.

If you have any questions, call the Catawba County Board of Elections at 828-464-2424.

If you want to check your voter registration you can go to Vote411 (https://www.vote411.org) and select the “Verify Voter Registration” link. Vote411 provides non-partisan voting information and is sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization dedicated to educating voters and encouraging everyone eligible to vote. If you would like more information about the local chapter, go to League of Women Voters of Catawba Valley (lwvcv.org).