Vote by Mail
Any North Carolina registered voter may request, receive and vote a mail-in absentee ballot in most elections. No special circumstance or reason is needed to vote by mail in North Carolina.
Military or overseas voters have special rights under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). See our Military and Overseas Voting page for more information on military and overseas citizens absentee voting.
The General Election
All registered voters in North Carolina may request an absentee ballot for the November 2020 general election.
Election officials have worked for many months to ensure accessible, safe, and accurate elections in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, review our statement and 12 facts about absentee ballot security in North Carolina.
To view guidance and recommendations for mail-in voting from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), visit the Election Mail page on their website.
Absentee Ballot Tools
Registered voters may request a ballot through the online Absentee Ballot Request Portal, or fill out a North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form and return it to their county board of elections. Want to track your ballot through the mail? Go to our new BallotTrax portal.
Note: Under state law, a voter’s absentee ballot request information is confidential, not public record until the ballot is returned or until Election Day. Therefore, ballot request information will not appear in your voter record through the Voter Search Tool, as it did in the past.
After you request a ballot, please allow a week to 10 days for it to get to you. If you do not receive your ballot within that time, contact your county board of elections. When your ballot is accepted by your county board of elections, that information will be posted in your voter record.
Question: Does it violate the law if I request an absentee ballot, then change my mind about using it and go vote in person?
Answer: No. Requesting an absentee ballot will not record you in our system as having voted. As long as you do not vote your absentee ballot, you may vote in person during the early voting period or on Election Day. You may simply discard your absentee ballot. There is no need to bring it with you to a polling place.
Question: Can a polling place accept my voted absentee ballot?
Answer: Yes, but only during the early voting period from October 15–31. Find early voting site hours and locations in your county by using the One-Stop Early Voting Site Search. Ballots may not be dropped off at polling places on Election Day.
Question: When are absentee votes counted?
Answer: Upon receipt, the county board of elections staff reviews each container-return envelope for completeness. Beginning five weeks before Election Day, the county board of elections holds weekly absentee board meetings where the approved ballots are inserted into a voting machine. However, results are not tabulated or reported until Election Day.
For more details and answers to absentee voting questions, visit: