RALEIGH (WTVD) --Your voice, your vote - many, many times.
In an election year dominated by the race for President of the United States, many North Carolinians say they're overwhelmed when they enter the ballot box to find a long list of candidates and positions requiring their attention.
"I feel like as a citizen my duty is to go out and vote, but I don't know some of these people," first-time voter Alfonso Vergara told ABC11. "So I don't know if I'm voting for the right person or not."
Vergara, a newly sworn-in U.S. citizen who was born in Colombia, joined other Wake County voters at ABC11's Raleigh newsroom this week for a special report reviewing the 2016 general election ballot and the candidates. The group of six was indeed a small sample, but it was a solid reflection of North Carolina's electorate: diverse in age, background, ethnicity and political affiliations.
"It's a big list, if you ask me," Vergara quipped after seeing the ballot for the first time.
The exact number of races and candidates vary slightly by voting precinct, but the one we gave our prospective voters, G001, featured 78 candidates in 39 contests. There is also one sales tax referendum at the end.
All Wake County ballots will include the following races and require voters to choose a desired candidate:
*President & Vice President of the United States
*US House of Representatives
*NC Lieutenant Governor
*NC Attorney General
*NC Commissioner of Agriculture
*NC Commissioner of Insurance
*NC Commissioner of Labor
*NC Secretary of State
*NC Superintendent of Public Instruction
*NC State Senate
*NC House of Representatives
*NC Supreme Court Associate Justice
*NC Court of Appeals
*NC District Court Judge
*Wake County Commissioner
*Wake County Register of Deeds
*Wake County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor
In addition, Most Wake County ballots will also include the following races and require voters to choose
*NC State Senate (Districts 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18)
*NC House of Representatives (Districts 11, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 40, 31 and 49)
*NC Superior Court Judge
*Wake County Board of Education
Desiree Gist, a North Raleigh resident, said she gets a lot of advice from her family about candidates, but there was still many people she didn't know.
"The front [of the ballot] was OK, and once you flip it over that's where the panic probably sets in," Gist explained. "Secretary of State - I don't believe I've heard of either [Incumbent Elaine Marshall (D) or her challenger, Michael LaPaglia (R)]. North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction - not sure that I've heard of [Incumbent June Atkinson (D) and challenger Mark Johnson (R)] either."
In 2012, officials with the Wake County Board of Election reported voters needed an average of five minutes to fill out a ballot. This year, officials say that's nearly doubled to 8-10 minutes in the booth. In our group, some rushed but others took their time.
Indeed, there's no knowledge test when it comes to voting - you just have to participate.
To help you prepare for Election Day, check out the many resources available for you:
For a detailed list of all elected positions chosen by voters in Wake County, who currently fills those seats and when he/she is up for re-election, visit http://www.wakegov.com/elections/voters/Pages/electedofficials.aspx
To find out your district and elected officials in North Carolina's Senate and House of Representatives, visit http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx
To review the sample ballot in your precinct, and search for your voting location, visit https://vt.ncsbe.gov/voter_search_public/
For general information on the 2016 General Election, including voting rules and regulations in Wake County, visit http://www.wakegov.com/elections/info/Pages/nextelection.aspx