For more information about voting in North Carolina, visit here.
Voters who wish to change party affiliation to vote in the general election must do so 25 days before the election – by October 9, 2020.
Voters who miss the October 9 deadline, but still wish to register or change their voter registration, may do so using same-day registration at an early voting site from October 15 to October 31.
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 2020 General Election takes place from October 15th through October 31st, 2020. The dates and hours within that time period are location-specific and set by each county. For early voting locations and times, contact your County Board of Elections office. Information on early voting can be found here. To find your County Board of Elections office visit here.
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.
The in-person voter registration deadline is 25 days before Election Day. Registration applications sent by mail must be postmarked 25 days before Election Day and received 20 days before Election Day. There is no direct online registration in North Carolina, but, as discussed further below, North Carolina now offers expanded online registration via the North Carolina DMV. If you miss the voter registration deadline, you can still register in-person during early voting until 3 days before Election Day.
All applications to register to vote in the November 3, 2020 General Election must be postmarked to the County Board of Elections by October 9, 2020. If the application is submitted via email or fax, a hard copy of the signed form must be delivered to the County Board of Elections no later than October 14, 2020. Voters can find the address of their County Board of Elections here.
Voters may also register to vote in person during the entire early voting period, October 15th through October 31st, 2020, at one-stop early voting sites. One-stop early voting locations can be found here.
Voters who register at the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles or another voter registration agency must submit a completed application to the agency by October 9, 2020 in order to vote in the General Election.
Check Your Registration Here or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
To register to vote and vote in a North Carolina county, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Be a resident of the county, and prior to voting in an election, must have resided at their residential address for at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
- Be at least 18 years old, will be 18 years old at the time of the next general election, or be at least 16 years old and understand that you must be at least 18 years old on Election Day of the general election in order to vote.
- Not be serving a sentence for a felony conviction (including probation or on parole).
If previously convicted of a felony, your citizenship rights must be restored. Citizenship and voting rights are automatically restored upon completion of your sentence. No special document is needed, but a copy of your Certificate of Restoration of Forfeited Rights of Citizenship may help if you have problems registering.
If you are a North Carolina citizen experiencing homelessness, you can register and vote. The location of your usual sleeping area is your place of residency for your registration. Voter registration forms provide a space for you to visually map where you usually sleep.
How to Register:
Note: Many County Boards of Elections and voter registration agencies may have limited in-person access due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Voters should contact their county election office or the agencies listed below that provide voter registration applications for more information on how to receive voter registration services.
- By Mail
You may download a voter registration application online. 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
- In Person
Voter registration services are available at:
- Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) (so long as someone is conducting other business at the 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 here 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 here.
If You Want to Vote Early In-Person (also called one-stop absentee voting or in-person absentee voting)
Early voting for the 2020 North Carolina General Election begins on October 15, 2020 and closes on October 31, 2020. The location of early voting is either your County Board of Elections office or an alternative site. You can find one-stop early voting sites and the hours they are open here.
If You Want to Vote Absentee By Mail
If 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, 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. 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 October 27, 2020 for the November 3, 2020 General Election. Your completed absentee ballot request 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. 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. on November 12, 2020 for the November 2020 General Election. 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 a one-stop early voting site at any time the site is open for voting (locations and hours can be found here.)
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 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 re-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.
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. Also see the North Carolina State Board of Elections webpage for information on 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 FPCA (see North Carolina-specific FPCA page). 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.
If you have been convicted of a felony and are currently incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, you have temporarily lost your right to vote in North Carolina. Once your sentence, including any probation and parole, has been fully served, your right to vote is automatically restored and no additional documents are needed, and you may register and vote a regular ballot. During the time you were serving your sentence, any voter registration you previously had may have been canceled. You can check your registration here.
Voters may now register to vote if all the following criteria apply:
- The voter is serving a term of extended probation, parole, or post-release supervision;
- The voter has outstanding fines, fees, or restitution as a result of their felony conviction; and
- 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.