Mail-in Absentee Voting

Any North Carolina registered voter who is qualified to vote in an election may request and receive a mail-in absentee ballot for any election. No special circumstance or excuse is needed to receive and vote a mail-in absentee ballot.

One-stop Voting (Early Voting)

One-stop voting gives a voter the opportunity to cast their ballot early in person. The reason it is called one-stop voting is because the voter has the opportunity to request, receive and vote their ballot all at one time.

One-stop voting provides an all-purpose solution:

  • if you want to avoid long lines.
  • if you have a conflict on Primary Day.
  • if you have moved within the same county since you last registered.

Multipartisan Assistance Teams

For every primary or election, each county election office will have an assigned Multipartisan Assistance Team (MAT) available to assist voters living in a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or rest home with mail-in absentee voting. MATs are available for voters who need assistance with voting by mail-in absentee ballot, but who do not have a near relative or guardian available to help. If you are a voter as described above, contact your facility’s staff to arrange a MAT visit. For more information about MATs, visit the Multipartisan Assistance Teams page.

How to Request an Absentee Ballot

To receive a mail-in absentee ballot for an election, a voter or the voter’s near relative or legal guardian must use the State Absentee Ballot Request Form to request the ballot. Request forms are available at the election offices. The form may be reproduced. A signed and completed State Absentee Ballot Request Form must be received by the county board of elections’ office no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last Tuesday prior to the date of the election for which the ballot is being requested. The form may be mailed, faxed, e-mailed or delivered in person. A request form must be received by the appropriate county board of elections for each primary or election that a voter desires to vote a mail-in absentee ballot.

Completing the State Absentee Ballot Request Form

The State Absentee Ballot Request Form may only be signed by the voter or a near relative or legal guardian of the voter. When completing the form, the voter or the requester must sign and provide the voter’s name, residential address, date of birth, and an identification number for the voter (NC DMV driver license number, NC DMV identification card number, or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number). If an identification number is not provided on the form, the requester must must submit one of these documents:

  • A copy of a current and valid photo ID or
  • A copy of one of the following documents that shows the name and address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.

If a person other than the voter (a near relative or legal guardian) makes the request, then the requester must also provide his or her name and residential address on the request form. If requesting a ballot for a partisan primary, and the voter is registered Unaffiliated, the voter or requester must indicate the ballot preference for the voter (which party’s primary in which the voter wishes to participate). Finally, the voter or requester must provide the address where the absentee balloting materials are to be mailed, if different from the voter’s residential address.

Receiving the ballot

If a valid request is received, the county board of elections will mail the voter absentee balloting materials to the address provided on the request form when absentee ballots are available. Absentee ballots are available:

  • 50 days prior to the date of the May Primary.
  • 60 days prior to the date of the General Election.
The absentee balloting materials will consist of:
  • a blank official absentee ballot;
  • absentee voting instructions; and
  • the Absentee Application and Certificate found on the back of the return envelope container.

Voting an Absentee Ballot

In the presence of two witnesses (or one witness if the witness is a notary public), the voter should mark the ballot or cause it to be marked according to his or her instructions. Once the ballot is marked, the voter or a person assisting the voter must seal the ballot in the container-return envelope and must then complete the Absentee Application and Certificate on the back of the ballot container-return envelope. The voter’s witnesses must complete and sign the envelope in the space designated as Witnesses’ Certification. If someone assisted the voter, the assister must sign and date the certificate as well.

Returning the Ballot

Once the Absentee Application and Certificate is fully executed with all relevant signatures, the voted ballot (inside the container-return envelope) must be returned to the county board of elections no later than 5:00 p.m. on the date of the election. The envelope may be mailed or delivered in person. Ballots received after 5:00 p.m. on Election Day will be timely ONLY if they are received by mail and bear a postmark that is dated on or before the date of the election and are received no later than 5:00 p.m. on the third day following the election.