FAQ: Voter Registration
Find answers to your questions about voter registration applications, updates, list maintenance, and privacy.
The regular voter registration deadline in North Carolina is 25 days before an election. For details, see Voter Registration Deadlines.
Need to register to vote or update your existing registration after the regular deadline?
Eligible individuals may do so ahead of Election Day during the one-stop early voting period. See Register in Person During Early Voting to learn more.
You may fax or email your voter registration application to update your name, address, or party affiliation. However, if the application is for a new registration, your county board of elections must receive your original, wet ink signature on your completed registration application, postmarked by the voter registration deadline and received no later than 20 days before a primary or election. N.C.G.S. § 163-82.6.
Note: Eligible individuals who are N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) customers may submit a voter registration application online. This process does not require a wet ink signature. Find more information at Complete Your Registration Online Through the DMV.
No. Only the voter may sign their voter registration application. You are not permitted to sign anyone else’s voter registration application, even if you have power of attorney for the person.
Yes. If you are an unaffiliated voter, you may participate in the primary of any recognized political party that opens its primaries to unaffiliated voters, or you may request a nonpartisan ballot. However, you must choose only one party’s primary. As of 2020, unaffiliated voters may choose the Democratic, Libertarian, Republican, or nonpartisan ballot (if available) in a primary election.
Participating in a partisan primary will not affect your status as an unaffiliated voter. If you request a nonpartisan ballot, you will only vote for those contests that are nonpartisan (i.e. referenda, etc.).
Voter registration materials and instructions are currently available in English and Spanish. You may download the voter registration application at Voter Tools and Forms.
When you move within your county, you should complete an in-county change of address. You may make changes to your voter registration using one of the following methods:
- On your voter registration card
- On an Address Confirmation Notice
- By signed letter to your county board of elections
- On the N.C. Voter Registration Application, or the National Mail Voter Registration Form
- On the Federal Postcard Application or Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (military and overseas voters only)
- At a one-stop early voting site (in person during early voting)
- On Election Day (recommend updating your address before Election Day)
- On the N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form if you plan on voting by mail
- On the online voter registration application available to DMV customers
- At the DMV or any other NVRA voter registration agency
If you move during a time close to an election, the following rules apply:
- If you moved more than 30 days before the election, you must update your registration with your new address (or if applicable, register to vote in your new county of residence) no later than 25 days before the election. You may also update your address using same-day registration during the in-person early voting period.
- If you don’t update your voter registration by Election Day, you may still vote at your new polling location, as long as your move is within the same county. Since your move was unreported, you may be asked to vote a provisional ballot. You can also vote provisionally at your old polling place, but you may not receive a ballot with all the contests you are eligible to vote in. You can also vote at a central transfer precinct; contact your county board of elections for more information about this option.
- If you moved fewer than 30 days before the election, you must vote in your prior polling place.
Please be sure to notify the board of any changes to your mailing address, if different from your residential address. The board may need to contact you by mail to inform you of changes to your polling place and/or voting districts.
If you need to make other changes to your voter record (name change, party affiliation change, etc.), you may use a voter registration application. For changes other than party affiliation, you may use same-day registration at an early voting site. For a primary election, you may not change your party affiliation at a one-stop early voting site. You may change your party affiliation during early voting for a general election, but the change would not take place until after canvass.
Once you make changes to your voter registration record, allow two weeks for the delivery of your new voter registration card. Read the information carefully and note any changes or mistakes on the card. A voter registration card is for your use only; you do not need the card to vote. You can also check your information on the Voter Search.
Voter registration records are not “purged” simply due to non-voting. Voters are removed from the voter rolls following a biennial list maintenance process mandated by federal and state law. If a county board of elections has not had any contact with a voter for a period of two federal election cycles, then the voter will be sent a forwardable address confirmation mailing. The voter will be required to return the confirmation mailing within 30 days of the mailing. If the confirmation mailing is not returned by the voter within that time, or the mailing is returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable, then the voter’s record will be marked inactive in the voter registration database.
Inactive voters are still registered voters. If an inactive voter presents to vote, the person will be asked to verify their address and update it if necessary. If a county board of elections has no contact (presenting to vote counts as contact) with the voter for two more federal election cycles, then the voter will be removed from the county’s voter rolls and would need to re-register to vote. N.C.G.S § 163-82.14.
In North Carolina, county boards of elections follow a comprehensive list maintenance schedule to remove names of individuals who are no longer eligible to be registered due to death, felony conviction, moving from the county or state, or lack of voter contact.
To learn more about this process, see our press release, County Boards of Elections Begin Regular Voter List Maintenance Processes.
Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 163-82.10 and Chapter 132 of the General Statutes, the State Board of Elections is required to make most voter information available to the public. All voter registration information is public record except for full or partial social security numbers, dates of birth, driver license numbers, the identity of the public agency at which the voter registered under N.C.G.S. § 163-82.20, and the email address of a military-overseas voter. Additionally, your signature may only be viewed by the public and cannot be copied or traced.
Note: Third parties often access and use publicly available voter registration data for various purposes, and the agency has no authority to control their use of publicly available information.
According to N.C.G.S. § 163-82.10(e), a voter’s address will be kept confidential if a registered voter submits to the county board of elections either 1) a copy of a 50B protective order; 2) a restraining order; or 3) a current and valid Address Confidentiality Program authorization card issued according to the provisions of Chapter 15C of the General Statutes, along with a signed statement that the voter has good reason to believe that the physical safety of the voter or a member of the voter’s family residing with the voter would be jeopardized if the voter’s address was open to public inspection. To find out whether you are eligible to have your information withheld from the public under the Address Confidentiality program, please visit Address Confidentiality | NCDOJ.