North Carolina

  • Early Voting (dates below)
  • Voter Rights Restoration (details below)
  • NC Voter website

Upcoming Elections

Oct. 5, 2021 – Election Dates, Early, and Absentee Voting

To determine the election date and whether early in person voting or absentee voting by mail is available in your municipality, visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/upcoming-election/2021-municipal-voter-tool.

Last Updated: September 2021

Voting in North Carolina

When You Can Vote

Election Day:

All Polling Places are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (ET).  Anyone in line at the polling place by 7:30 p.m. is permitted to vote.

Early Voting:

For the Municipal Elections, not all municipalities offer in-person early voting and absentee-by-mail voting. To determine whether early in person voting or absentee voting by mail is available in your municipality, visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/upcoming-election/2021-municipal-voter-tool.  Information on early voting can be found here: https://www.ncsbe.gov/Voting-Options/One-Stop-Early-Voting.

Where You Can Vote

How to Find Your Polling Place:  Visit https://vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup/

Due to COVID-19, some polling places may have been consolidated or moved. Check your polling place location close to Election Day to be sure you have up-to-date information.

Registering To Vote

How to Register:

  1. By Mail

You may download a voter registration application online (https://www.ncsbe.gov/Voter-Information/VR-Form).  Once complete, you can mail the application to the County Board of Elections for the county where the you live.

 

In addition to the printable voter registration application accessible via the above link, voter registration applications are available at the following locations:

  • NC State Board of Elections
  • County Boards of Elections (some Boards of Elections may also mail a voter registration form to a prospective voter if requested)

Voter registration applications may also be available at the following locations, depending on the practice of the relevant County Board of Elections:

  • Public Libraries
  • Public High Schools or College Admissions Offices
  • Town Halls or Municipal Buildings

 

  1. In Person

Voter registration services are available at:

  • Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Division of Services for the Blind
  • Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Division of Medical Assistance
  • Division of Public Health/WIC
  • Division of Social Services (DSS)
  • Division of Rehabilitation Services
  • Division of Employment Security (DES)
  • Other Public Assistance Agencies.

 

Expanded online voter registration services: If you are an existing DMV customer with a North Carolina driver’s license or DMV-issued identification card you may do the following voter registration services online through the NCDMV’s vendor, PayIt:

  • Register to vote
  • Update their voter registration address
  • Update their party affiliation

 

You can visit https://payments.ncdot.gov/ to access the voter registration services listed above. There is no fee for voter registration services.

 

If you submit your registration by the voter registration deadline, you should expect to receive your voter card within one to two weeks.  You should contact your County Board of Elections if you do not receive your voter card within two weeks.  Note:  You must have transmitted the registration application by the registration deadline; otherwise, your voter card will not be mailed until after the completion of the election. You can check to see if you are registered via this link: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.

Early Voting & Voting by Absentee Ballot

If You Want to Vote Early In-Person (also called one-stop absentee voting or in-person absentee voting)

For the Municipal Elections, not all municipalities offer in-person early voting and absentee-by-mail voting. To determine whether early in person voting or absentee voting by mail is available in your municipality, visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/upcoming-election/2021-municipal-voter-tool. You can find one-stop early voting sites and the hours they are open here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/.

 

If You Want to Vote Absentee By Mail

For the Municipal Elections, not all municipalities offer in-person early voting and absentee-by-mail voting. To determine whether early in person voting or absentee voting by mail is available in your municipality, visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/upcoming-election/2021-municipal-voter-tool. If it is available in your municipality and you are a registered North Carolina voter or a near relative or legal guardian of the voter, you can obtain an Absentee Ballot Request Form on the State Board of Elections website (https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Forms/2021-NC-Absentee-Ballot-Request-Form-Fillable-English.pdf), the State Board of Elections office, or at County Boards of Elections offices. Registered voters can also request an absentee ballot through the State Board of Elections’ Absentee Ballot Request Portal (https://votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/absentee/lookup). No excuse or special circumstance is necessary.

 

The absentee ballot request must be received by the voter’s County Board of Elections by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before Election Day, which is Sept. 28, 2021 for the Oct. 5, 2021 Municipal Elections and Oct. 26, 2020 for the November 2, 2021 Municipal Elections.

Your completed absentee ballot must be either delivered or mailed to the County Board of Elections. If delivered in person, your completed ballot must be delivered by 5:00 p.m. on Election Day.. You cannot return a completed absentee ballot to a polling place on Election Day.

If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the County Board of Elections by 5:00 p.m. three days after Election Day.

  • 5 Municipal Election: Voters must postmark their absentee ballot by Oct. 5, 2021 and the County Board of Elections must receive it by Oct. 8, 2021 at 5:00pm.
  • 2 Municipal Election: Voters must postmark their absentee ballot by Nov. 2, 2021 and the County Board of Elections must receive it by Nov. 5, 2021 at 5:00pm.

If you are mailing your absentee ballot, go into your local post office in person and have the local post office apply a postmark date on the return envelope to ensure it will be properly counted.  You may also deliver the absentee ballot in person to your county board of elections office or to a one-stop early voting site at any time the site is open for voting if available in your municipality (locations and hours can be found here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/).

Identification Requirements

No photo ID is currently required to vote in North Carolina.

If you are using same day registration or are a first-time voter who registered to vote by mail and did not provide verification of your ID (North Carolina driver’s license/non-driver ID or last 4 digits of social security number) at the time of registration, you will need one form of ID described below.

First-time voters who registered by mail and whose identification was not validated at the time of registration must show one of the following to vote: any current and valid photo ID OR a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or any government document showing both your current name and address.

For Same Day Registration, you must provide one of the following at an early voting (one-stop) location to vote:

  • NC driver’s license or other government issued ID card showing your current name and address
  • Current utility bill (electric, phone, cable, water, etc.), bank statement, government check, paycheck or payroll stub that shows your current name and address
  • Student photo ID, plus a school document showing your address
  • Any document from any government agency that shows your current name and current address
If You Have Moved Within Your State

If You Moved Fewer Than 30 Days Before Election Day:

Within the Same Precinct:

You should be able to vote a regular ballot after oral or written affirmation of the change of address in front of a precinct official.

Within the Same County:

You are still qualified to vote a regular ballot at your prior polling place and may vote only there.

To a Different County:

You are still qualified to vote a regular ballot at your prior polling place in your old county and may vote only there.

If You Moved 30+ Days Before Election Day:

Within the Same Precinct:

You should be able to vote a regular ballot upon oral or written affirmation of your change of address in front of a precinct official.

Within the Same County:

If you are at the polling place for your new address, you should be able to vote a regular ballot at the new location or a central polling location upon oral or written affirmation of your change of address in front of a precinct official. However, you may be given a provisional ballot.  If you are at the polling place for your old address you may vote a provisional ballot at that location.

To a Different County:

If you move to a different county more than 30 days before Election Day you should register at your new address in order to be eligible to vote.  Or, you may go to any early voting location in the county of your new address and use same day registration to register and vote.

If You Are in the Military or are an Overseas Voter

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

In addition to using the North Carolina absentee ballot process described above, a military member or overseas voter may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) North Carolina specific webpage:  https://www.fvap.gov/north-carolina.  Also see the North Carolina State Board of Elections webpage for information on overseas voting: https://www.ncsbe.gov/Voting-Options/Military-Overseas-Voting.

 

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

As an overseas or military voter, you may receive you blank absentee ballot by U.S. Mail, fax, or electronic transmission.  To request electronic transmission of the blank ballot, you must mark the appropriate box and provide an email address on the North Carolina-specific FPCA page:  https://www.fvap.gov/north-carolina.  Ballots must be returned via U.S. Mail, online, or by fax.

 

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by overseas and military voters.  You can use this FWAB whether you are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses).  If you do not receive your regular ballot in time, you may use the FWAB.  Your FWAB must be received by your local voting officials in North Carolina no later than 12:00 a.m. on Election Day if you are returning your ballot by mail, or by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day if you are returning your ballot by email or fax.  For specific instructions, visit the FVAP’s North Carolina-specific FWAB page:  https://www.fvap.gov/north-carolina.

 

A military or overseas voter should only apply for an absentee ballot using the FPCA or the FWAB, but not both. Generally, the FWAB serves as a backup to the FPCA. For most voters, the FPCA is the best option.

 

Returning the Absentee Ballot

Military or overseas voters may return their ballot, including an FWAB, via mail, fax or email. Additionally, a military or overseas voter who has submitted an FPCA or completed the UOCAVA portion of the North Carolina Absentee Request Form may use the UOCAVA portal (https://votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/uocava) to retrieve, mark, and return their ballot.

If You Have a Felony Conviction

If you have been convicted of a felony and are currently incarcerated, you have temporarily lost your right to vote in North Carolina. Once you have completed your sentence, your right to vote is automatically restored and no additional documents are needed, and you may register and vote a regular ballot. If you are on felony probation, parole, or post-release supervision, you are not eligible to vote unless the below exception applies. During the time you were serving your sentence, any voter registration you previously had may have been canceled. You can check your registration here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.

Voters whose rights of citizenship are restored after serving a felony sentence ahead of Election Day, but after the regular voter registration deadline, may register and vote during early voting (if available) or on Election Day.

Due to recent litigation, voters serving a felony sentence may now register to vote if all the following criteria apply:

  1. The voter is serving a term of extended probation, parole, or post-release supervision;
  2. The voter has outstanding fines, fees, or restitution as a result of their felony conviction; and
  3. The voter does not know of another reason that their probation, parole, or post-release supervision was extended.

Voters who are currently serving a felony sentence and do not meet all three criteria are not permitted to register to vote. Voters who have been discharged from probation are eligible to vote even if the voter still owes money or has a civil lien.

For more information on the restoration of voting rights to certain individuals on extended probation, including information about organizations that can help answer questions about an individual’s particular circumstances of extended probation, please visit here: https://www.ncsbe.gov/registering/who-can-register/registering-person-criminal-justice-system#i-am-currently-incarcerated.

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