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ELECTION INFORMATION

To vote in the 2016 statewide general election, a person must be registered and meet the following qualifications:

  • be a U.S. citizen
  • be at least 18 years of age, or be 17 years of age and will turn 18 no later than November 8, 2016 (the date of the general election)
  • reside in the county and election district in which he or she presents to vote
  • not be serving an active sentence for a felony conviction

To register to vote, a person may complete and download a printable voter registration form on the State Board of Election’s website: www.ncsbe.gov. Voter registration applications are also available at county boards of elections offices, public libraries, high schools and college admissions offices. Persons may also register to vote at any DMV office and at certain agencies.

The deadline to register to vote is 25 days before the election. Voter registration forms that are received by the county board of elections offices or postmarked by the deadline are accepted as valid applications for the upcoming election. Click on the image below to enlarge.

North Carolina law permits citizens who are at least 17 years of age to register to vote and vote as long as the person will be 18 years of age on the date of the general election. If you are 17 and will be 18 on or before November 8, 2016, you may register to vote for the upcoming election. You may vote in person on election day or during early voting or you may request to vote a by-mail absentee ballot.

Persons who are not registered in a county may register to vote during the one-stop early voting period. This process is called “Same-Day Registration.” To use same-day registration, a person must complete a voter registration application and show an election official proof of residential address in the county. This “proof of address” may consist of one of the following:

  • a North Carolina Driver’s License or State-issued identification card
  • a photo ID issued by a government agency
  • a document showing the name and current address of the applicant. To be current, the document must be the most recent version or at least dated within three (3) months of the date it is presented to an election official. Copies of acceptable documents are permissible. It is also permissible for a voter to present an electronic or online version of a document as long as the document is obtained from the original source (e.g., e-Bills from utility companies, electronic bank statements, electronic earnings statement from employer, etc. and shows his or her current name and address.

Within two business days of the person’s registration, the county board of elections will verify the registrant’s driver license or social security number, update the voter registration database, search for possible duplicate registrations, and proceed to verify the registrant’s address by mail. The registrant’s vote will be counted unless the county board of elections determines that he or she is not qualified to vote.

Fact One: Your legal voting residence is your place of permanent domicile.
  • That place shall be considered the residence of a person in which that person's habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever that person is absent, that person has the intention of returning.
Fact Two: Citizens who are homeless may register and vote.
  • In the event that a person's residence is not a traditional residence associated with real property, then the location of the usual sleeping area for that person shall be controlling as to the residency of that person. Residence shall be broadly construed to provide all persons with the opportunity to register and to vote, including stating a mailing address different from residence address. Voter registration forms provide a space for an applicant to visually map where they usually sleep.
Fact Three: You may continue to vote in your usual North Carolina county if you only temporarily relocate.
  • A person shall not be considered to have lost that person's residence if that person leaves home and goes into another state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district of North Carolina, for temporary purposes only, with the intention of returning.
Fact Four: You may not vote in a county if you are only living in that county on a temporary basis.
  • A person shall not be considered to have gained a residence in any county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district of North Carolina, into which that person comes for temporary purposes only, without the intention of making that county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district a permanent place of abode.
Fact Five: When you move to a new county or state, you are no longer eligible to vote in your previous county.
  • If a person removes to another state or county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district within North Carolina, with the intention of making that state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district a permanent residence, that person shall be considered to have lost residence in the state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district from which that person has removed.
Fact Six: If you move away and establish a new residence for an indefinite period, you are no longer eligible to vote in your previous county, even if you believe that you may eventually return to your previous residence.
  • If a person removes to another state or county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district within North Carolina, with the intention of remaining there an indefinite time and making that state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district that person's place of residence, that person shall be considered to have lost that person's place of residence in North Carolina, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district from which that person has removed, notwithstanding that person may entertain an intention to return at some future time.
Fact Seven: If you move away, register and vote in another county or state, you will no longer be eligible to vote in your previous county.
  • If a person goes into another state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district, or into the District of Columbia, and while there exercises the right of a citizen by voting in an election, that person shall be considered to have lost residence in that State, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district from which that person removed.
Fact Eight: College students may register and vote in the county where they are attending college (in most situations, the college student could also opt to register or remain registered at the address where they lived previous to moving away for college, and could choose to vote absentee). If a student registers at his or her school address, that registration cancels any previous registration in another county.
  • So long as a student intends to make the student's home in the community where the student is physically present for the purpose of attending school while the student is attending school and has no intent to return to the student's former home after graduation, the student may claim the college community as the student's domicile. The student need not also intend to stay in the college community beyond graduation in order to establish domicile there.

Any registered North Carolina voter may request an absontee ballot by mail. No excuse is needed to vote by absentee. To request an absentee ballot, complete the State Absentee Ballot Request Form. Click on the image below to enlarge.

Absentee by Mail Deadlines for the 2016 Elections

REQUESTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

A completed State Absentee Ballot Request Form may be mailed, faxed or scanned and then emailed to the county board of elections.  The contact information for the county boards of elections may be found here:  http://enr.ncsbe.gov/cbesearch/

The State Absentee Ballot Request Form may only be signed by the voter or a voter’s near relative or legal guardian.  A near relative is considered to be a spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild of the voter.

Once ballots become available, the county will mail the absentee balloting materials to persons who submit valid requests. The balloting materials must be mailed.  The balloting materials may not be faxed, emailed or hand-delivered to the voter. Absentee ballots will be available according to the following schedule:

November 8, 2016 General Election

Absentee voting begins

09/09/2016

VOTER ACCESSIBILITY
  • Curbside Voting

A qualified voter who is able to travel to a voting place, but is unable to enter the voting enclosure without physical assistance (whether because of age or physical disability or physical barriers encountered at the voting place), is allowed to vote in the vehicle conveying him or her. Every one-stop site and Election Day polling place provides spaces outside the regular voting place dedicated to curbside voting. Curbside voters may be assisted in their vehicles according to the same rules as voters who present inside a regular voting place.

  • Voter Assistance
  • A voter in any of the following four categories is entitled to assistance from a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or an officer or agent of the voter's union:
  1. a voter who, on account of physical disability, is unable to enter the voting booth without assistance
  2. a voter who, on account of physical disability, is unable to mark a ballot without assistance
  3. a voter who, on account of illiteracy, is unable to mark a ballot without assistance
  4. a voter who, on account of blindness, is unable to enter the voting booth or mark a ballot without assistance
  • With the exception of those prohibited by law, any voter who is entitled to assistance, whether because of a physical disability, illiteracy or blindness may request assistance when presenting to vote.
  • With the exception of those prohibited by law, any voter who is entitled to assistance, whether because of a physical disability, illiteracy or blindness may request assistance when presenting to vote.
  • Any voter entitled to assistance may choose whether to receive such assistance from the voter's spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild.
  • Any voter who qualifies for and requests assistance while voting at a one-stop voting site is entitled to the same assistance as voters who vote on Election Day.  
  • There is no prohibition against a candidate assisting a voter if the voter is qualified for assistance.
  • There is no prohibition against a person assisting multiple voters if those voters are qualified for assistance.
  • Voters are not permitted to receive assistance from the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer or an officer or agent of the voter’s union.
PROVISIONAL VOTING

A provisional ballot is offered to voters when there are questions about:

  • a voter's qualification to vote,
  • a voter’s eligibility to vote in a given election, or
  • a voter’s eligibility to vote a specific ballot style.

Provisional voting is a mechanism by which a citizen is guaranteed the opportunity to cast a ballot when such questions have been raised. In that case, the citizen is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, which is held aside pending research into the issue to be resolved. Findings are presented to the county board members, who make final determinations. Election results are not finalized until all provisional ballots that are eligible have been included in the total count.

Provisional voting is fail-safe voting. State law mandates that each person who presents to vote be given that opportunity, whether by regular or provisional ballot.  In no circumstance will a voter be turned away.

PROVISIONAL VOTING REASONS

No Record of Registration

  • A voter’s record of registration cannot be found in the voter registration list at the time the voter presents to vote.

Unreported Move

  • A voter provides an address within the county of registration that is different from the voter's current registered address and the voter has indicated that the move to the new address occurred 30 or more days prior to Election Day.

Previously Removed

  • A voter was previously registered in the county but the registration was cancelled. A voter's registration may be cancelled due to any number of reasons (moved within state; moved to another state; felony conviction; removed due to list maintenance; sustained challenge; deceased, etc.).

No Acceptable ID

  • A voter does not present acceptable identification.

Nonreasonable Resemblance

  • All judges of election determine that the picture or name on the photo ID presented by the voter does not bear the voter's resemblance.

Unrecognized Address

  • An election official is unable to locate a voter’s address in the county’s street lookup files.

Incorrect Precinct

  • A voter is requesting to vote at a polling place on Election Day this is not the polling place for the voter’s proper precinct. A voter’s proper precinct is the precinct assigned to the voter based on the voter’s address 30 or more days prior to Election Day. 

Incorrect Party

  • (Only applicable in a partisan primary) A voter insists upon voting a ballot for a party other than the party of the voter's affiliated party.

Voter Already Voted

  • A voter’s record indicates that the voter who is presenting to vote has already cast a ballot in the election.

Jurisdiction Dispute

  • A voter presents to vote and has no eligible ballot style or the voter requests to vote for an election contest that is not in the voter's assigned voting district based on his or her legal voting residence.

Voted During Extended Hours

  • The hours for voting are extended by the State Board of Elections or a court order.
PROVISIONAL PROCEDURES

If there is an indication at the check-in station that the voter will be unable to vote a regular ballot, he or she will be directed to the Help Station to receive guidance on casting a provisional ballot. The voter will be given a Help Referral Form that will explain the reason for the referral to the Help Station.

PROVISIONAL VOTING PACKET

An election official at the Help Station will help the voter complete a Provisional Voting Application and will provide a provisional ballot and envelope.  The voter will be instructed to vote the ballot in private, to seal the completed ballot in the provisional envelope and return the sealed envelope to the Help Station.

PROVISIONAL VOTER INSTRUCTIONS

Each provisional voter will be given a Provisional Identification Number (PIN) to use along with his or her date of birth to check the status of the application. (This status will not be available earlier than 10 days after the date of the election.)

The election official will also inform the voter of any additional steps required to will permit the board of elections to approve the provisional application. For example, if the provisional ballot was triggered for failure to present acceptable ID under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the election official will inform the voter to bring or send the ID to the board of elections office no later than the close of business on the day before the county canvass (5:00 p.m. on 11/17/2016) to show an acceptable type of HAVA ID to an election official. The official will also provide the specific date by which the voter must appear at the board of elections office for the ballot to be counted.

To check the status of a provisional vote, a voter may:

  1. Check Provisional Ballot online at www.NCSBE.gov.
  2. Call (919) 733-7173 or (866) 522-4723
  3. Call your local county board of elections office
PROVISIONAL PROCESS

All provisional envelopes are returned to a county board of elections.  County board of elections staff research the issues underlying the provisional applications and provide the results of their investigations to the members of the county board of elections.   No election results are finalized until the determination of the statuses of the provisional ballots have been made.  If a provisional application is approved, the voter’s provisional ballot is removed from the sealed envelope and the ballot is counted or, if applicable, partially counted.   Ballots are only partially counted if a provisional voter was not entitled to vote for all of the contests on the ballot. If a provisional application is not approved, the ballot remains sealed in the provisional envelope.

WHEN BALLOTS ARE COUNTED
 
All election results on election night are unofficial.  A county election is not complete until the county canvass; state-wide contests are not complete until the state canvass.

COUNTY CANVASS

The county canvass is the mechanism by which election results in a county become official. The county canvass meeting is conducted 10 days after Election Day.

During the canvassing period, county boards of elections will also count eligible civilian, military or overseas absentee ballots that are received after Election Day.  Until the relevant canvass, all election results posted by the county or the State Board of Elections are unofficial. These are the specific dates for the 2016 county canvass meetings.

WHAT IS A STATE CANVAS?

National offices, state offices, multi-county legislative offices, superior court judge, district court judge, district attorney, and statewide and multi-county referenda contests must be canvassed by the State Board of Elections. The State Board of Elections will set the date for the state canvass for primary elections. The date of the state canvass for the 2016 general election is Tuesday, November 29, 2016.