Five Steps to Vote by Mail in North Carolina in the 2020 General Election

2020 absentee ballot deadlines have passed.


No special circumstance or reason is needed to vote by mail in North Carolina. All registered voters in North Carolina may request an absentee ballot for the November 2020 general election. To vote by mail in North Carolina in 2020, follow the 5 steps below. 

1. Request your ballot.

There are two ways to request your ballot:

  • Complete and sign a North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form. Instructions are included with the form. Note: Only the voter, the voter’s near relative or legal guardian, or a member of a multipartisan assistance team may request a ballot for that voter. -OR-
  • Online through the Absentee Ballot Request Portal.

2. Submit your request.

If you are not using the online portal, submit your  North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form by email, fax, mail or in person to your county board of elections. The deadline to submit a request for the November 3, 2020 general election is 5 p.m. Tuesday, October 27.

Want to track your ballot through the mail? Sign up for BallotTrax, a free service where North Carolina voters can track the status of their absentee ballot.

The State Board of Elections strongly encourages voters to request a ballot as soon as possible to avoid problems due to postal delays and to allow for time to correct any issues with your request.

3. Complete your ballot. 

Your county board of elections will mail your ballot to you, beginning September 4. Complete your absentee ballot in the presence of one witness and insert the ballot into the return envelope.

A witness should not observe so closely that they are able to see what votes the voter marked. What is required is that the witness sees that the voter is voting the ballot.

4. Complete and sign the absentee ballot return envelope.

Sign the outside of the ballot return envelope. Have your witness complete and sign the witness certification. If you receive assistance marking or mailing the ballot, the assistant must fill out the voter assistant certification.

5. Return your ballot to your county board of elections. 

Only the voter or the voter’s near relative or legal guardian may possess the absentee ballot to return it to the board of elections.

In 2020, there are a few ways to return your absentee ballot:

  • By mail to your county board of elections, postmarked on or before Election Day, and received by 5 p.m. November 12
  • By commercial courier service (DHL, FedEx or UPS)
  • Dropped off in person at your county board of elections office by 5 p.m. Election Day (November 3)
  • Dropped off in person at any early voting site in your county during voting hours (October 15–31)*

To find your county board of elections office hours and location, use the County Boards of Elections Search. To find an early voting site and hours in your county, use the One-Stop Early Voting Site Search.

*Voted absentee ballots will not be accepted at polling places on Election Day.