By MARY HERR
This is the first year that North Carolina’s primary election will be held on “Super Tuesday” on March 3. This election will determine which candidates will be on the ballot for the general election in November. Regardless of your party preference, it is very important that you exercise your right to vote. Are you willing to let 50 percent or less of the people chose which candidates will run in November? Many elections have been won or lost by one or two votes so your vote is important. Your voice, your vote!
It is very important that enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians vote in this election. Decisions made at all levels of government (President and Congress in Washington, DC, General Assembly in Raleigh and County Commissioners, Courts, etc.) impact your daily lives. If you shop anywhere off the Qualla Boundary, you are paying state sales taxes. These amounts are determined by the county and state. If you are arrested off the Boundary, state laws apply and you will appear before a District Court or Superior Court judge who is elected. All federal laws passed by the US Congress directly impact Cherokee people. Congress determines the amount of funding for Indian Health Service, education and many other programs that the EBCI depends upon to provide services.
You must vote in the primary for the party with which you are registered. If you are registered as Unaffiliated, you can vote in just one party’s primary. That is, you can vote in the Democratic, Republican or Libertarian primary (but not in the Constitutional or Green party primary). There are many primary candidates for county, state and national offices. Sample ballots are available from your County Board of Elections offices.
Early one-stop voting where you can register and vote at the same time is Feb. 13 – 29. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays except for Feb. 15. A photo ID is not required to vote in this primary election. In Swain County, early voting for the primary can be done at the Swain Board of Elections office at 1422 Hwy. 19 South in Bryson City and at the Birdtown Gym in Cherokee. In Jackson County, early voting for the primary can be done at the Jackson County Board of Elections office at 876 Skyland Drive in Sylva, Wolftown Gym in Cherokee, Cullowhee Rec Center in Cullowhee, Cashiers Rec Center in Cashiers, and at Western Carolina University in Room 210. For other counties, check with your County Board of Elections.