Vote By Mail
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. Find details on this page about absentee-by-mail voting options for civilian, military and overseas, or blind and visually impaired voters. Visit the vote-by-mail FAQ and detailed instructions pages in this section to learn more.
Absentee-By-Mail Voting in 2021
For municipal elections 2021, there are two ways any North Carolina voter can request an absentee ballot:
- Online with “Option 1 – Request an Absentee Ballot” at the N.C. Absentee Ballot Portal.
- On paper with the English N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form for 2021 (fillable PDF) or the Spanish N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form for 2021 (fillable PDF).
Not all municipalities offer absentee-by-mail voting: Visit the 2021 Municipal Voter Tool to confirm the availability of absentee voting in your municipality
Track your absentee-by-mail ballot through the mail: Once you have a valid request on file with your county board of elections, you can track your ballot from printed to accepted by signing up online for status notifications through BallotTrax.
Dates and Deadlines
The voter registration deadline is 25 days before Election Day. Find out how to register.
|Absentee-By-Mail 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. 28, 2021: Deadline for civilians to submit an absentee ballot request form for the October municipal elections.|
|Oct. 5, 2021: Civilian absentee ballot return deadline and Election Day 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. 26, 2021: Deadline for civilians to submit an absentee ballot request form for the November municipal elections.|
|Nov. 2, 2021: Civilian absentee ballot return deadline and Election Day for November municipal elections.|
For an overview of the 2021 municipal elections, visit Upcoming Election.
Military and Overseas Voting
The federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) allows certain voters an expedited means to register and vote by mail-in ballot. Find more information at Military and Overseas 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 that 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 details about receiving assistance with mail-in voting and other services provided by a multipartisan assistance team (MAT) at Assistance for Voters in Care Facilities.
Detailed Instructions to Vote By Mail
Voting by mail in North Carolina takes three simple steps — requesting, completing, and returning a ballot. Find more information at Detailed Instructions to Vote By Mail in 2021.
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.