Help for Voters with Disabilities
North Carolina law allows any voter to receive assistance going in or out of a voting booth as well as preparing a ballot if the person providing help is a near relative or legal guardian of the voter. (N.C.G.S. § 163-166.8.)
A near relative is a spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, child, grandchild, mother- or father-in-law, son- or daughter-in-law, stepparent or stepchild.
Some voters may receive help from other assistants. If a voter meets any condition below, he or she is eligible to get help from a person of their choice, except the voter's employer or union representative, or an agent thereof.
They are a voter who, because of:
- physical disability is unable to enter the voting booth without help.
- physical disability is unable to mark a ballot without help.
- illiteracy is unable to mark a ballot without help.
- blindness is unable to enter the voting booth or mark a ballot without help.
Any voter who qualifies for assistance may ask for help at any one-stop early voting site or Election Day polling place.
When arriving at a voting place, the voter should request permission for help from the chief judge, stating the reasons he or she needs help. The voter may then identify the person he or she wants to help them. The assistant may go into in the voting booth with the voter.
The assistant may not:
- try to persuade or induce any voter to cast a vote in a particular way.
- make any record of anything that occurs in the voting booth.
- reveal to any person how the assisted voter voted, unless the person giving help is called to testify in court.
Accessible Polling Places
Federal and state laws require early voting locations and Election Day polling sites to be accessible to all voters.
All voters with disabilities have the right to vote privately and independently. They also have the right to cast their ballots at an accessible polling place with voting machines for voters with disabilities.
If you are aware of problems or potential problems with accessibility, please contact the county board of elections. You may find contact information with the County Boards of Elections Search.
Accessible Voting Equipment
Voting systems used in North Carolina must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Federal law and state requirements require voting systems to be equipped with features to help voters with disabilities cast their ballot privately and independently.
This allows these voters to have the same opportunity for access and participation as any other voter. Every Election Day precinct and one-stop early voting site must have at least one accessible voting machine available.
Three types of accessible machines, which mark ballots for the voter, are used by North Carolina counties: the AutoMARK or the ExpressVote from Elections Systems & Software (ES&S), or the Verity Touch Writer from Hart InterCivic. For more information, see the Voting Equipment page.
N.C. State Board of Elections is committed to making voting as accessible as possible for all North Carolina residents. Please let us know how we can improve voting accessibility by calling us at (866) 522-4723 (toll free) or (919) 814-0700. You may also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessible Absentee Voting
Note: Absentee ballot submissions have closed for the November 2020 general election. Blind and visually impaired voters in North Carolina may now request, receive, and return an accessible absentee ballot online through a new service from the State Board of Elections. The system is compatible with screen readers and allows the voter to digitally sign. Learn more on Accessible Absentee Voting.
Voters in Care Facilities
A multipartisan assistance team, or “MAT,” is a group appointed by a county board of elections to provide assistance with mail-in absentee voting and other services to voters living at facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Find out how to request and schedule a visit on Assistance for Voters in Care Facilities.