Vote By Mail
Absentee-By-Mail Voting in 2021
Any North Carolina registered voter may request, receive and vote a mail-in absentee ballot. No special circumstance or reason is needed to vote by mail in North Carolina. For municipal elections 2021, there are two ways to request an absentee ballot:
- Online at the Absentee Ballot Request Portal (coming soon).
- On paper with the English N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form for 2021 (fillable PDF) or Spanish N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form for 2021 (PDF coming soon).
Not all municipalities offer absentee-by-mail voting. Visit the 2021 Municipal Voter Tool to determine whether absentee voting options are available in your municipality. For an overview of the 2021 municipal elections, visit Upcoming Election.
Military and Overseas Voting
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.
Accessible Absentee Voting
If you are a blind or visually impaired voter in North Carolina, you can request, mark, and return an accessible absentee ballot online through a system that is compatible with screen readers and allows for a digital or typed signature. Learn more at Accessible Absentee Voting.
If you live at a facility such as a hospital, clinic, or nursing home, find out how to receive assistance with mail-in voting and other services provided by a multipartisan assistance team (MAT) at Assistance for Voters in Care Facilities.
Absentee ballots can be requested from now until the deadline, which is 5 p.m., one week before your Election Day.
Absentee Ballot Request Form Deadlines
Your county board of elections must receive your request form by:
- 5 p.m., Sept. 28, 2021, for October municipal elections.
- 5 p.m., Oct. 26, 2021, for November municipal elections.
If you mail your request form, please include enough time for your request to be received by the deadline. The State Board encourages voters to request their absentee ballot as early as possible to ensure enough time to complete and return the ballot. Requests received after the deadline will not be processed.
One notary public or two witnesses must be in your presence when you mark your absentee ballot. They should only observe you marking your ballot, not how you vote.
For civilian absentee voters, the container-return envelope with the voted ballot enclosed must be returned to the county board of elections no later than 5 p.m. on Election Day — either on Oct. 5, 2021, or Nov. 2, 2021. Absentee ballots received after 5 p.m. on Election Day will be counted only if they are postmarked on or before Election Day and received by mail no later than 5 p.m. on the Friday after the election. Ballots without a postmark must be received by Election Day.
For answers to more absentee-by-mail voting questions, visit FAQ: Voting by Mail in North Carolina in 2021.
Detailed Instructions to Vote By Mail (2020)
Voting by mail in North Carolina takes three simple steps — requesting, completing, and returning a ballot. Find more information on Detailed Instructions to Vote by Mail in 2020.
Note: These instructions apply to voting by mail in the 2020 general election. We will post the updated instructions for the 2021 municipal elections soon.