10 Facts About Voting in North Carolina During the COVID-19 Pandemic
(LAST UPDATED: Nov. 20, 2020. This document will be updated as circumstances require.)
- In 2020, three voting options are available for voters: absentee by-mail, in-person early voting and Election Day voting. Voters can decide which option works best for them.
- Through a new partnership, NC Division of Motor Vehicles’ customers may now apply online to register to vote or update their voter registration address and political affiliation.
- Voters who cast their ballots in person in 2020 will find numerous safeguards in place at early voting locations and Election Day precincts. They include: social distancing, free hand sanitizer and single-use pens, personal protective equipment for poll workers and frequent cleaning of voting sites and equipment.
- In-person voters are strongly encouraged to wear masks while at their polling place. Free masks will be available at all voting sites.
- North Carolina allows all voters to cast an absentee ballot by mail. No special circumstance is needed. (Note: The deadline for civilians to request and return an absentee ballot has passed.) Registered voters may request a ballot for the November 2020 general election online through the Absentee Ballot Request Portal, or fill out the North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form. Return the form by mail, email, fax or in person to your county board of elections.
- Based on recommendations from the State Board of Elections, the N.C. General Assembly passed laws in 2020 to simplify absentee by-mail voting, including reducing the ballot witnessing requirement from two people to one, allowing requests to be submitted by email, fax and online.
- The North Carolina Task Force on Elections and COVID-19 Response first met in March 2020. Made up of state and county elections officials and an Emergency Management representative, the group is providing advice on steps necessary to respond to the pandemic and ensure voting is safe and accessible in 2020.
- State elections officials worked closely with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance for health protections at voting sites. DHHS also issued guidance to allow multipartisan assistance teams (MATs) to assist voters who are patients or residents in facilities such as hospitals and residential care facilities to register to vote or request an absentee ballot.
- The federal CARES Act of 2020 is providing $13.1 million to North Carolina. The money is being used to help the 100 counties to conduct elections during the pandemic.
- Elections officials encourage North Carolinians to serve their communities and democracy as election workers in 2020. We need the public’s help to make elections safe and accessible – now more than ever. Fill out an interest survey (interest survey is now closed.)