Across North Carolina, election officials work diligently to ensure the security of every ballot cast in North Carolina. Many processes are in place to ensure absentee voting is secure and conducted according to state law.
Here are 12 reasons why absentee-by-mail voting is safe and secure in North Carolina:
- Election officials send ballots only to registered voters who request them using official paper request forms or the secure North Carolina Absentee Ballot Portal. It is illegal for an election official to knowingly send an absentee ballot to someone who hasn’t requested one.
- The voter or their near relative or legal guardian must fill out and sign the request form. To verify the identity of a voter requesting a ballot, the form requires private information from the voter: the voter's date of birth and either their driver's license number or last four digits of their Social Security number. Election officials validate that information before issuing a ballot.
- Fraudulently or falsely completing the request form is a felony.
- Voters must vote their ballot in the presence of two witnesses or a notary public. Witnesses must sign a certification on the absentee ballot envelope, verifying that the voter marked the ballot in their presence and is the person submitting the ballot.
- Voters who vote by mail must include a photocopy of an acceptable photo ID when returning their ballot, or they may complete a Photo ID Exception Form.
- Typically, only the voter or their near relative or legal guardian may return the ballot by mail, to the county board of elections, or an early voting site. Another person of a voter’s choice may assist if the voter cannot return their ballot themselves due to disability. County boards of elections keep a detailed log of who drops off absentee ballots. There are no ballot drop boxes in North Carolina.
- When a ballot is returned, the bipartisan county board of elections reviews the absentee ballot envelope to ensure compliance with the legal requirements.
- Once the ballot is accepted, that voter is marked in the system as having voted in that election. If that voter tries to vote in person, poll workers will not allow that person to vote another regular ballot.
- Data on who has requested absentee ballots is confidential until Election Day, or until the ballot is returned by the voter. This reduces the ability of third parties to attempt to unlawfully interfere with a voter’s ballot, as they will not know who has requested a ballot or when any person who has requested a ballot will receive it.
- Committing fraud, or aiding and abetting fraud, in connection with absentee voting is a felony. The State Board investigates credible allegations of election fraud and refers cases to prosecutors when warranted by findings.
- Many people are watching North Carolina’s absentee voting process closely, including candidates, political parties, county boards of elections, political and data scientists, advocacy groups, and the media. If anomalies or questionable activities arise, they will be reported to election officials.
- The State Board conducts post-election audits which can catch inconsistencies to be investigated by the agency.