Elections

Elections in 2016

There are many ways for citizens to participate in the elections process, aside from voting. To learn more click here.  

North Carolina held its presidential preference primary and other statewide primary elections on March 15, 2016. The March primary provided North Carolina voters the opportunity to vote for their choice of a political party’s nominees for partisan contests or their choice of candidates for judicial or non-partisan contests that will be up for election in the statewide general election held in November.


There will be a special primary election on June 7, 2016. In February, the General Assembly enacted S.L. 2016-01 and S.L. 2016-02, which redrew districts for the U.S. House of Representatives and established a primary for U.S. House of Representatives on June 7, 2016. Those district lines are under review by a federal court and are not final. To check your new district under the proposed plan, please click here. There will also be a North Carolina Supreme Court contest on all June 7th primary ballots.

 

Voters who are affiliated (registered with a political party) are only eligible to participate in their party’s primary. However if a voter is affiliated with a party but that party does not have a partisan primary in that voter’s congressional district on June 7, the voter will be issued a ballot that includes the statewide judicial contest. Voters who are unaffiliated with a political party may vote in a party’s primary if there is a partisan primary in their district or they may choose a non-partisan ballot. Voters who are 17 years of age are eligible to vote in any partisan or non-partisan primary contests, as long as the voter will be 18 years of age on or before November 8, 2016 (the date of the general election). Qualified 17 year-olds may now register to vote for the June 7 statewide primary and may continue to register as long as the voter registration books are open for both the primary and general elections. In 2016, all primary elections will be decided by a plurality.

The General Assembly has eliminated runoff elections (also called "second primaries") for the 2016 election cycle.

North Carolina will hold its general election on November 8, 2016.  All registered voters will be eligible to vote.

Order of Candidates Names for General Election Contests

The list of candidates’ names for general election contests will be in order of the nominee for: (1) the Republican Party; (2) the Democratic Party; (3) the Libertarian Party; and (4) any candidates who qualified to run as unaffiliated candidates.

No Straight-Party Voting in General Election

Since straight-party voting was eliminated in North Carolina, there will not be an option that allows a voter to use one mark to vote for the candidates of a given party for more than one office. Voters must vote for each partisan contest item separately on the general election ballot.

To vote in the 2016 statewide primary and general elections, 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.

Voter Registration Deadlines for 2016 Elections

The deadline to register to vote is 25 days before the day of 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.

Voter Registration Event

June 7, 2016

Special Primary

November 6, 2016

General Election

This is the last day to submit signed a voter registration form (which must be received or postmarked by this date).

05/13/2016

10/14/2016

This is the last day to update your address, change your party affiliation or change your name (the updating form must be received or postmarked by this date).

05/13/2016

10/14/2016

You may fax or email your signed application by this date if you are only changing your name or updating your address in the county.

05/13/2016

10/14/2016

If you are registering for the first time in your county or want to change your party affiliation, you may fax or email your signed application on or before Date 1, but you must forward the originally signed application so that your county board of elections receives the application no later than Date 2.

Date 1: 05/13/2016

Date 2: 05/18/2016

Date 1: 10/14/2016

Date 2: 10/19/2016

To register at the DMV or another NVRA agency, you must be present at the agency during normal agency business hours. The signed application must be received by the agency on or before this date.

05/13/2016

10/14/2016

Moved within the county? If you moved on or before this date, you have lost voting eligibility under the old address and must update your voter registration. You must vote at your new precinct within the county on election day to receive a regular ballot.

05/08/2016

10/09/2016

Moved within the county?If you moved after this date, your legal voting residence for the election is your old address. You must vote at your old precinct in the county on election day.

05/08/2016

10/09/2016

Moved to a new county in North Carolina?If you moved on or before this date, you have lost voting eligibility in your previous county. You must register to vote in your new county of residence 25 days before the election in which you desire to vote.

05/08/2016

10/09/2016

Moved to a new county in North Carolina? If you moved after this date, your legal voting residence for the election is your old address in your previous county.

05/08/2016

10/09/2016

Moved to North Carolina? If you moved after this date, you are not yet qualified to vote in North Carolina. You must have resided at your address for at least 30 days before the date of the election before you can vote.

05/08/2016

10/09/2016

Moved to a new state? If you moved on or before this date, you have lost voting eligibility in North Carolina. You must register to vote in your new state of residence. Please check with your new state regarding voter registration requirements.

05/08/2016

10/09/2016

Moved to a new state? If you moved after this date, you may still vote in your previous North Carolina county. You may do so by absentee ballot or return to North Carolina and vote in person.

05/08/2016

10/09/2016


Special Note Concerning 17 year-olds

North Carolina law permits citizens who are at least 17 years of age to register to vote and vote in a primary election as long as the person will be 18 years of age on the date of the general election. However, these individuals may register no earlier than 60 days prior to the date of the primary election.

Seventeen year-olds who will become 18 on or before November 8, 2016 (the date of the 2016 general election) were eligible for registration on Friday, January 15, 2016 and were qualified to vote in the March primary. They are also qualified to vote in the June 7th congressional primary. Although 17 year-olds are able to vote in a primary election, they are not eligible to vote in any bond, referenda, or final contests for school board, municipal offices, or other local matters where the primary election date will also be the general election for these contests. Special ballots will be available for 17 year-olds that exclude ineligible contests.

Same-Day Registration

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.” By court order, this option is available for June 7.  However, barring further court action, same-day registration will not be available for the general election in November.

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 a current and valid photo ID or 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 two (2) months of the date that 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.

Voting Residency Facts

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: If you are homeless, you may still register and vote.

If your residence is not a traditional residence associated with real property, the location of your usual sleeping area shall be controlling as to your residence. (Residence shall be broadly construed by election officials to provide all persons with the opportunity to register and vote. For example, a voter’s statement of a mailing address that differs from his or her residence address does not call the voter’s residency into question.  Voter registration forms provide a space for an applicant to visually map where he or she usually sleeps.)

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 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 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.

A person who 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, shall be considered to have lost residence in the state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district from which he or she 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.

A person who removes to another state or to a 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, shall be considered to have lost residence in North Carolina, or the county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district from which he or she has removed, even if  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.

A person who moves 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, shall be considered to have lost residence in that State, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district from which he or she removed.

Fact Eight: College students may register and vote in the county where they are attending college. (In most situations, college students 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.

The student who intends to make a home in the community where the student is physically present while attending school, and who has no intent to return to the former home after graduation, may claim the college community as his or her domicile. The student need not intend to stay in the college community beyond graduation to establish domicile there.

 


 

Same-Day Registration

 

Any registered North Carolina voter may request an absentee ballot by mail. No special circumstance or excuse is needed to vote absentee. To request an absentee ballot, please complete the state absentee ballot request form. The form is available on the State Board of Elections website at www.ncsbe.gov.


Absentee by Mail Deadlines for the 2016 Elections

 

Absentee Event

June 7, 2016 Congressional Primary

November 8, 2016 General Election

REQUEST BALLOT

Civilian Voters

Last day to request absentee by mail ballot (by 5:00 pm)

5/31/2016

11/1/2016

Military and Overseas Voters

Last day to request absentee by mail ballot (by 5:00 pm)

6/6/2016

11/7/2016

RETURN VOTED BALLOT

Civilian Voters

Last day to return by mail or in-person

6/7/2016

11/8/2016

Civilian Voters (Late Exception)

Last day to receive if mailed and postmarked on or before Election Day (by 5:00 p.m.)

6/10/2016

11/14/2016*

Friday, 11/11/2016 is a postal holiday

Military and Overseas Voters

Last day to return electronically (by 7:30 pm)

6/7/2016

11/8/2016

Military and Overseas Voters (Late Exception)

Last day to receive if mailed on or before Election Day (by 5:00 pm)

6/13/2016

11/17/2016

Requesting an Absentee Ballot

A completed state absentee ballot request form may be mailed, faxed, or scanned and 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 may not be faxed, emailed or hand-delivered to the voter. Absentee ballots will be available according to the following schedule:

 

March 15, 2016 Statewide Primary

June 7, 2016 Special Primary

November 8, 2016 General Election

absentee voting begins 01/25/2016

absentee voting begins

04/18/2016

absentee voting begins

09/09/2016


Civilian Absentee Voters

The name, address and date of birth of the requesting voter must be provided on the state absentee ballot request form. One of the following types of information to identify the voter must also be provided:

  • NC driver license or non-operator ID card number;
  • the last four digits of voter’s social security number; or
  • ·         a copy of one of the following documents that shows name and address: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.

Check the schedule above for the absentee ballot request deadline.


Military and Overseas Citizens

Members of the military (or their spouses or dependents) who are absent from their counties of residence and United States citizens who are outside of the United States during the election may use the state absentee ballot request form to request an absentee ballot. There is a section on the form that permits a military or overseas citizen to qualify for special voting rights under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Such voters may also request an absentee ballot using the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA), which is available at www.FVAP.gov.


Returning an Absentee Ballot

Civilian Absentee Voters

A civilian absentee voter must return his or her voted ballot in the container-return envelope provided to the board of elections in enough time for the ballot to be received by 5:00 p.m. on Election Day. If mailed, the ballot is timely as long as the container-return envelope is postmarked by Election Day and received no later than 5:00 p.m. on the third day following the election. If balloting materials are returned in person, only the voter or a near relative may deliver the ballot. Civilian absentee ballots may not be returned by fax or email.

Military and Overseas Citizens

Military and overseas citizens have until 7:30 p.m. EST on Election Day to return their voted ballots. These voted ballots may be faxed, emailed or mailed. Additional time is granted for military and overseas citizens' absentee ballots to be received, as long as the voter mailed the ballot by Election Day or started the electronic ballot transmission by 12:01 a.m. on Election Day and the county board receives the ballot by the last business day before the county canvass.


Witnessing an Absentee Ballot Application

Civilian Absentee Voters

A civilian absentee voters must have his or her absentee application witnessed by two persons (or one witness if that witness is a notary-public) who are at least 18 years of age. The absentee application is the form on the back of the ballot’s container-return envelope. The witnesses are required to provide their complete addresses. The witnesses may be anyone except the following:

  • an owner, manager, director, employee, or other person affiliated with a hospital, clinic, nursing home or rest home, where the voter is a patient
  • a person who is a candidate for nomination or election in the primary or election in which the voter is voting absentee, unless the voter is the candidate's near relative

Military and Overseas Citizens

There is no witness requirement for military and overseas citizens who vote absentee by mail under UOCAVA.


Postage and Postmark Date on Absentee Envelope

Civilian Absentee Voters

Please check with the post office regarding proper postage for mailing an absentee ballot.  A missed guess may result in an uncounted vote.  Anyone who is mailing an absentee ballot close to the absentee deadline should request the postal clerk to apply a postmark to the absentee ballot container-return envelope.

Military and Overseas Citizens

Military and overseas citizens may return their absentee ballots using the special postage paid envelope that is included in the balloting materials. There is no postmark requirement for military and overseas citizens.

 

One-stop Voting (Early Voting)

One-stop voting or “early voting” is actually in-person absentee voting. The reason it is called one-stop absentee voting is that the voter has an opportunity to request, receive and vote the absentee ballot all at one time.  One-stop voting provides an all-purpose solution for those seeking to:

·         avoid potential voting delays on election day;

·         vote on convenient days and during non-working hours;

·         avoid any registration conflict that could trigger the necessity of a provisional ballot on election day; or

·         update their voter records in their counties of registration if they have moved since last voting.

One-stop voting begins on the second Thursday prior to the date of an election and ends at 1:00 p.m. on the last Saturday before Election Day. During the one-stop absentee voting period, registered voters may vote at any one-stop early voting site in their county of residence.  Early voting hours vary by county and location. Voters should check the one-stop absentee schedule in their county to determine specific hours for each early voting site. The schedule for early voting will be posted by the start of the absentee voting by mail period.

These are the dates for the 2016 One-stop voting periods:

March 15, 2016 Statewide Primary

June 7, 2016 Special Primary

November 8, 2016 General Election

One-stop Voting Period

03/03/2016 – 03/12/2016

One-stop Voting Period

05/26/2016 – 6/4/2016

One-stop Voting Period

10/27/2016 – 11/5/2016

 

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:

  • a voter who, on account of physical disability, is unable to enter the voting booth without assistance
  • a voter who, on account of physical disability, is unable to mark a ballot without assistance
  • a voter who, on account of illiteracy, is unable to mark a ballot without assistance
  • 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.

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. A voter may also be given a reasonable impediment declaration to complete if the provisional ballot was triggered by an obstacle or impediment that prevented him or her from showing an acceptable type of photo ID.  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 permit the board of elections to approve the provisional application. For example, if the provisional ballot was triggered for failure to present acceptable photo ID, the election official will inform the voter to appear in person at the board of elections office no later than noon on the day before the county canvass to show an acceptable type of photo 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.

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.

Absentee Ballots

Election Day Ballots

Provisional Ballots

Absentee ballots (including one-stop absentee ballots) are counted at 5:00 p.m. on Election Day, or in some cases, may be counted as early as 2:00 p.m. county boards of elections may not release absentee results until after the close of the polls. Absentee ballots that are timely received after Election Day will be counted as part of the final canvass.

 

Ballots cast on Election Day are counted after the close of the polls on Election Day. Polls close at 7:30 p.m. EST.

 

Provisional applications are researched after Election Day. If the provisional voter is found to be qualified and eligible to vote, his or her ballot will be counted before the results of the election in the county are made official. A county’s election is made official at the time of the county’s canvass.

What is a County Canvass

The county canvass is the mechanism by which election results in a county become official. The county canvass meeting is conducted 7 days after Election Day in all elections except a general election, in which case the county canvass is held 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:

Election Event

County Canvass

Statewide Special Primary

June 14, 2016

Statewide General Election

November 18, 2016

What is a State Canvass

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.

 

Voter ID

North Carolina voters will be asked to show an acceptable form of identification under North Carolina’s photo ID requirements when they present to vote in the 2016 elections. Acceptable forms of photo ID include NC DMV issued driver license, NC DMV issued identification cards, US passport, military ID, Veterans Affairs ID card or certain tribal ID cards.  For more information on photo ID requirements, visit http://voterid.nc.gov/.