Any North Carolina registered voter may request and receive a mail-in absentee ballot.
No special circumstance is needed. Uniformed service members and U.S. citizens living outside of the country may request absentee ballots under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). For more UOCAVA information, go to FVAP.gov.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – NO PHOTO ID REQUIRED:
Voters are NOT required to provide a photo ID with their absentee ballot for the March 2020 primary election. In an order on December 31, 2019, a federal district court blocked North Carolina’s voter photo ID requirement from taking effect.
Follow these 5 Steps to Vote by Mail:
1. COMPLETE THE ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUEST FORM:
A registered voter or their near relative or legal guardian must complete and sign the Absentee Ballot Request Form. A near relative is the voter’s spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild.
- When can I submit the form?
- This request can be made as many as 60 days before major elections, but only 30 days before a municipal election.
- What if I need help?
- When possible, a voter should seek help from their near relative or legal guardian to complete and sign the Absentee Ballot Request Form. A near relative is the voter’s spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild.
- If a near relative or legal guardian is not available, and a voter needs help completing the request form due to blindness, disability, or inability to read or write, the voter may get help from another person, who must list their name and address on the form.
- Voters in a facility (a hospital, clinic, nursing home or adult care home) may contact their county board of elections to request assistance from a Multipartisan Assistance Team (MAT). A MAT can help a voter in a facility complete their absentee request form.
- What if I don’t have the required ID number?
- The request form will ask for your North Carolina driver’s license or DMV identity card ID number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- If you do not have either of those numbers, you may send a copy of one of the following documents with your name and current address along with the request form:
- A utility bill from an electric, water, gas, phone or cable company.
- A bank statement or bank-card statement.
- A paycheck or pay stub.
- Any license, permit, invoice, check, letter or any other document from a local, state or federal government agency.
2. RETURN THE REQUEST FORM:
The voter or their near relative/legal guardian (see step one above for qualifying individuals) must sign the request form and deliver it in person to their county board of elections or have it delivered by the U.S. Postal Service or other delivery service (DHL, FedEx or UPS). For voters in a facility, a MAT may return the request form.
- What is the deadline to submit the form?
- The request form must be received by the county board of elections by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election. The deadline for the March 3 primary is February 25, 2020.
- Important Changes:
- The form must be mailed or delivered in person and may not be faxed or emailed.
- No person other than the voter or their near relative/legal guardian, or a MAT, may possess or return a completed absentee request form.
3. Receive the Ballot:
Once the county board of elections receives the request form it will mail the voter their ballot. The board will send the following 3 items to the mailing address you provide on the request form (the items cannot be picked up in person):
- An Absentee Ballot,
- A return envelope with a certificate statement on it, and
- An instruction sheet.
4. Mark Ballot, Fill out Certificate on the Envelope:
Mark the ballot with your choices in the presence of two witnesses (or a notary public) who are at least 18 years old and not candidates in the election. The witnesses should not violate your privacy while you vote (unless you need assistance due to a disability); the voter and both witnesses (or notary public) must each complete and sign the certificate on the return envelope and provide their addresses. Make sure all parts of the certificate form on the envelope are filled out, including your signature, then insert the Ballot in the envelope, and seal it.
- Only the voter may vote their ballot.
- A voter may receive assistance marking their ballot, but the assistant may only mark the ballot in the presence of and at the direction of the voter.
- Who may not serve as a witness?
- A candidate may not serve as a witness unless the candidate is the voter’s near relative.
- Employees of a facility may not serve as a witness for voters in a facility. See the instructions included with the absentee ballot for a complete list of individuals prohibited from serving as witnesses for voters in a facility.
- You do NOT need to include a copy of a photo ID with your absentee ballot.
- Voters are not required to provide a photo ID with their absentee ballot for the March 2020
primary election. In an order on December 31, 2019, a federal district court blocked North
Carolina’s voter photo ID requirement from taking effect.
5. Return the Ballot in the Envelope:
To be counted, the voter or voter’s near relative or legal guardian must return the ballot in the container-return envelope in-person to your county Board of Elections by 5 PM on Election Day, or it must be postmarked by 5 PM on Election Day and arrive in the mail by 5 PM three days later. It is a Class I felony for any other person to possess an absentee ballot.
- What if I wait until Election Day to submit my ballot?
- If you wait until Election Day to mail the envelope, go inside the post office and get it hand-postmarked by the clerk, because mail dropped in a blue box often does not receive a postmark.
- Alternatively, the envelope with the ballot may be hand-delivered to an Early Voting location or the county Board of Elections office by Election Day, but hand delivery can only be done by the voter or the voter’s near relative.
- What if I need assistance mailing my ballot?
- A voter who, due to a disability, needs assistance placing their ballot in the closest mailbox may receive assistance by anyone not disqualified from assisting the voter.
Note: A separate Absentee Ballot request must be made for the Primary and General Elections unless you are in the military or you attest that illness or physical disability will make it difficult for you to go the polls during an entire election cycle. Under those circumstances, you can request ballots for the Primary and General Election with a single request form. You will need to renew this request each year.