Voting and Coronavirus
Your Vote and Safety Count
Your state and county elections officials remain hard at work to make voting as accessible and safe as possible for North Carolina’s more than 7 million registered voters. Election officials have been asked to create and implement plans to minimize viral spread at polling locations, including encouraging mask-wearing, social distancing requirements, and sanitation protocols.
There is not currently a statewide stay at home order or universal mask mandate in place. Your local rules and regulations may differ depending on county policies, municipal ordinances, and restrictions imposed by private businesses. To protect yourself and those around you, the State Board strongly encourages voters, observers, and electioneers to wear a mask indoors and maintain physical distancing.
Not all municipalities permit absentee-by-mail or in-person early voting during the 2021 municipal elections. Find the election dates and options available at the 2021 Municipal Voter Tool. Please review your sample ballot in advance of voting in person to reduce time at your polling place. Sample ballots are available through the Voter Search tool. Find details about municipal elections at Upcoming Election.
In-Person Voting Guidelines
If you plan to vote in-person, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recommend the following protective measures:
- All North Carolinians are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. Information can be found at Find Your Spot, Take Your Shot. For guidance on vaccinations, please refer to our Interim Guidance for Individuals Who Have Been Vaccinated Against COVID-19 and Recommendations for Protecting Each Other.
- Wear a face mask when you go to vote and keep it on throughout the voting process. Free masks will be available at all early voting sites and Election Day precincts for voters who do not bring one.
- While at your polling location, stay 6 feet apart from others, including other voters if you have to wait in line.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after voting at your polling location. Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol will be available at every voting place.
- Consider voting at off-peak times, such as mid-morning, to avoid crowds.
- Stay home if you do not feel well. Voters are encouraged to isolate away from people if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms. If you or a household member is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, contact your health care provider about getting tested. If you do visit a voting site when you are experiencing symptoms, vote curbside rather than entering the voting place.
NCDHHS has issued guidance to voting places to adopt a variety of precautions, including:
- Encouraging voters, observers, and electioneers to wear a mask when indoors and maintaining physical distancing.
- Providing disposable masks and hand sanitizer for use in the voting place.
- Cleaning surfaces at least once a day, prioritizing those that are high touch.
- Increasing air filtration and using fans to provide for increased air circulation to help reduce the concentration of viral particles in the air.
- Posting signs, posters, and flyers at main entrances and in key areas throughout the voting location to promote behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Pollworkers and observers can be required to wear masks in the voting place if the building requires it. However, voters cannot be required to wear a mask to enter the building.
The State Board of Elections, CDC, and NCDHHS strongly encourage you to wear a mask and keep it on throughout the voting process, but you cannot be turned away if you do not wear one. You will not be asked to submit a temperature check before entering the voting place.
You would be eligible to vote curbside due to a disability. The term “disability” includes voters who have a medical condition that puts them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, should not wear a mask due to a medical or behavioral condition or disability, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Find additional details at Curbside Voting.