North Carolina has more than 550 cities, towns, and villages – also known as municipalities. Municipalities are local governments, which control local tax rates and make decisions about development, policing, trash service, and other issues that affect voters’ daily lives.
Most municipalities in North Carolina conduct elections in odd-numbered years, including 2021. This is when voters choose who will represent them in local government offices, such as mayor and councilperson. Some municipalities may also conduct property tax or other referenda.
Are the 2021 Municipal Elections Postponed?
Most elections will occur as scheduled, but about 35 municipalities must delay elections until 2022 to revise electoral districts based on new population numbers from the 2020 U.S. Census. For details, visit our press release, Elections Postponed in Several North Carolina Municipalities.
Find Election Dates, Early and By-Mail Voting Options
Not all municipalities offer in-person early voting and absentee-by-mail voting. Find the election dates and options available at the 2021 Municipal Voter Tool.
We are tracking any changes to scheduled election dates and will update the tool accordingly.
Municipal Election Dates and Deadlines
|Election Date or Deadline|
|Sept. 5, 2021: County boards of elections will have begun mailing absentee ballots for October municipal elections to eligible voters who submitted an absentee ballot request form.|
|Sept. 10, 2021: Civilian voter registration deadline for October municipal elections.|
|Sept. 16, 2021: One-stop early voting period begins for October municipal elections.|
|Sept. 28, 2021: Deadline for civilians to submit an absentee ballot request form for the October municipal elections.|
|Oct. 2, 2021: One-stop early voting period ends for October municipal elections.|
|Oct. 3, 2021: County boards of elections will have begun mailing absentee ballots for November municipal elections to eligible voters who submitted an absentee ballot request form.|
|Oct. 5, 2021: Civilian absentee ballot return deadline and Election Day for October municipal elections.|
|Oct. 8, 2021: Civilian voter registration deadline for November municipal elections.|
|Oct. 14, 2021: One-stop early voting period begins for November municipal elections.|
|Oct. 26, 2021: Deadline for civilians to submit an absentee ballot request form for the November municipal elections.|
|Oct. 30, 2021: One-stop early voting period ends for November municipal elections.|
|Nov. 2, 2021: Civilian absentee ballot return deadline and Election Day for November municipal elections.|
The voter registration deadline is 25 days before Election Day. Find out how to register.
Where Municipal Elections Are Available
Municipal elections are available only to voters who live in that municipality. All registered voters will find their sample ballot(s) with any eligible contest(s) posted to their Voter Search profile as they become available. Find additional details below in our FAQ.
For detailed information about each voting method during the 2021 municipal elections, follow the links below.
To be eligible to vote in a municipal election, the voter must live in that municipality for at least 30 days before Election Day.
With the Voter Search tool, registered voters can determine if they live in an area that conducts municipal elections by identifying a municipality detail under “Your Jurisdictions.” Sample ballot(s), if applicable, will also be posted closer to the election date(s).
Note: Most municipalities hold their elections during odd-numbered years, but some conduct elections during even-numbered years instead. A state law passed in 2021 delays elections in about 35 municipalities that elect by district until 2022 to allow those cities and towns to complete redistricting based on new U.S. Census data.
Find an updated view of election dates and early and absentee by-mail options of your local elections at the 2021 Municipal Voter Tool.
At the time of publishing this page, a photo ID is not required to vote. For the current status of photo ID requirements, please visit Voter ID.
Municipal election dates are set according to the election method established by N.C. General Statutes, local acts of the General Assembly, and/or municipal charters. To learn about election methods, see Types of Elections: Municipal Elections.