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Registering to Vote in NC

Check if You’re Registered to Vote

Even if you think you are already registered to vote, it’s a good idea to check your registration to make sure it’s active and current.  Sometimes voters are removed from the rolls, and you don’t want to wait until Election Day to find out that your registration is not current!

👉🏾 Click here to check if you are registered at your current address.

How to Register to Vote

for the 2020 General Election

(Or Update Your Registration)

You must be eligible to vote and registered to vote in order to vote in North Carolina. See the Voter Registration FAQ below for more information, such as who can register to vote and more.

The Voter Registration Deadline has passed and we DO NOT have same-day registration on Election Day.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on

How to Register to Vote (or Update Your Registration)

If you are not currently registered or not registered at your current address, you can register or re-register either by submitting a voter registration form by the deadline OR by registering on-site during the One-Stop Early Voting Period.

See the FAQ below for a complete overview of how to register and the rules to register.

Use the State Board of Elections VOTER SEARCH ENGINE to see if you are on NC’s voter rolls. Type your first and last name as you think they appear on the registration form; don’t include a middle initial or birth year. You can also type part of a name with an asterisk; for example, Kath* will find Kathy, Katherine, Kathleen, Kathryn, etc. Check the box “I’m not a robot” and hit “Search.” Then select the blue name that’s you. If you don’t find yourself, go back and check the box for “Removed or Denied” near the bottom.

Keep in mind that it can take a couple of weeks for your information to be added to the registration rolls. If you do not find your name on the rolls after three weeks, or if incorrect information is listed, please contact your COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS. You can also fill out another form and submit it before the registration deadline; there’s no penalty for registering twice at the same address. For guidance on registering, see 3 Options to Register to Vote at the top of this page.

To register to vote, you must be:

  1. A U.S. citizen
  2. At least 18 years old by Election Day*
  3. A resident of the county for at least 30 days before the day of the next general election
  4. A person who is not serving a felony sentence, including probation or parole **

A 17-year-old may register and vote in the Primary if he or she will be 18 on the day of the General Election.  Pre-registration is also available for 16 and 17 year-olds. Complete the regular voter registration form and submit it to your county Board of Elections. The registration will be held in a queue and automatically processed when the voter turns of age.

** If you have been convicted of a felony (in NC or anywhere else), you are eligible to register in North Carolina after you complete all parts of your sentence, including probation and parole. Students or members of the military living away from home and people in jail on misdemeanor charges are all eligible to register to vote.

In NC, a 16 or 17-year-old may pre-register and their registration will become fully effective when they reach the appropriate age to vote.

Use THE SAME REGISTRATION FORM to register or to pre-register to vote. Carefully and legibly fill out each section. Include a phone number so an elections official can reach you if something needs to be clarified. Be sure to check the citizenship box correctly, sign the form, and include your date of birth and an identifying number (NC driver’s license number or last 4 digits of your Social Security number).

You do not have to register again each time you vote. You only need to register again if you move, change your name, or after you finish a felony sentence (including any probation or parole; simply having an outstanding restitution payment, similar to a civil fine, does not affect your right to vote).

Under NC law, where you vote depends on where you call “home.” You have two choices if you are a student who has moved away to attend school and has no firm intent to return to a certain address after graduation:

  • You can declare your old address (probably a parent’s address) as your home, because that’s where you return periodically; in that case, you may register and vote in your old hometown.
  • Or you can declare your new address as your home, because that’s where you return day after day. In that case, you may register and vote in your new town.

You have to choose: It’s a serious crime to vote in two places in the same election. If you are already registered to vote in your hometown and now live in another community, you can vote by mail by requesting an ABSENTEE BALLOT or you can take advantage of EARLY VOTING on a trip home during the Early Voting period. If you want to register or change your registration to a new address, follow the guidelines in our HOW DO I REGISTER TO VOTE? section.

A person convicted of a felony temporarily loses his or her citizenship rights in North Carolina. But you automatically get your rights back after you finish your sentence, including any probation or parole. You do not need a special document saying your rights are restored. You just register to vote like any other citizen. If you were registered before your conviction, you will need to register again.

An outstanding payment of restitution or a civil fine does not affect your voting rights.

It does not matter if your felony conviction occurred outside North Carolina; as long as you have finished your sentence, you are eligible to register and vote.

If you are awaiting trial or if you are serving a misdemeanor sentence, you do not lose your right to vote, even if you are in jail.

If you are in jail, put an address on the registration form where your mail will be accepted and received. (If the Board of Elections’ mail to you is returned as undeliverable, you may not be able to vote.) List that address as your residential and mailing address, even if it is in a different county from the jail, and mail your registration form to the BOARD OF ELECTIONS in that county. This is the same Board where you will send your Absentee Ballot request form when the time comes to vote.

As an alternative, you can use the jail’s address where you receive mail and mail your completed registration form to the BOARD OF ELECTIONS in the same county as the jail; this is the same Board where you will send your Absentee Ballot request form when the time comes to vote.

Your voter registration card will be mailed to the address that you put down as your mailing address. If you have not received a voting card within three weeks, you can SEARCH YOUR REGISTRATION STATUS ONLINE or contact your COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS. You will vote by following the directions for using an ABSENTEE BALLOT in the county where you mailed your registration form.

You can register to vote at any time, but if you want your registration to count in time for an upcoming election, you have two options.

(1) Regular Voter Registration Deadline – Generally, your registration form must be postmarked or delivered to your county Board of Elections at least 25 days before the election in which you want to vote.

(2) Same-Day Registration during Early Voting – If you miss the 25-day registration deadline, you can use Same-Day Registration during Early Voting at any Early Voting site in your county.

⚠️ You can NOT register and vote on the same day on Election Day.

To use Same-Day Registration during Early Voting, you must provide one of the following documents to an election official at an Early Voting location:

  • NC driver’s license
  • Other government photo ID with name and current address
  • Utility bill, bank statement, or payroll stub with name and current address
  • Student photo ID with a school document showing the student’s address
  • Any document from any government agency with the voter’s name and current address.

You can register to vote *after* the regular deadline, but only during the Early Voting period.

Same Day Registration is a good option if you missed the 25-day registration deadline, or have recently become eligible to vote. To use Same Day Registration, you must provide one of the following documents to an election official at an Early Voting location:

  • NC driver’s license or identity card from NC DMV
  • Utility bill (electric, phone, cable, water, etc.), bank statement, or payroll stub with the voter’s name and current address
  • Student photo ID, plus a school document showing the student’s address
  • Any document from any government agency with the voter’s name and current address.

In March 2020, North Carolina joined 38 other states in offering online voter registration (OVR). OVR is available now through the NC DMV website. To use this service, you must have a North Carolina drivers license or DMV-issued ID card. While this method of registration won’t help all eligible voters, it’s a huge step forward for voter registration and is especially necessary at this time.

To register online, follow these five steps or watch the How-To Video: 

  1. Visit payments.ncdot.gov
  2. Select Continue as a guest. 
  3. Click Submit a voter registration application. 
  4. Enter your North Carolina Driver License or DMV-issued ID Card number, Social Security number (SSN), and date of birth.
  5. You can register to vote, update your address, or change party affiliation. Updated information ONLY applies to your voter registration, not your ID — meaning you can register to vote at your current residence and it does not need to match the address on your current ID.

⚠️The online platform does not not allow users to make a name change.

👉🏾If you DO NOT have a NC license or ID card or wish to make a name change, complete and return the Voter Registration Form to your county Board of Election office (more on that below). Not sure if you are registered at current address? Look up your registration here.*

*Still not sure if you’re registered to vote? No problem! There’s no harm in registering to vote again.


(1) Obtain a Voter Registration Form.  You can use any one of the ways below to get a registration form to fill out and submit 25 days before election day to have it count in time for the upcoming election:

  • Visit your county Board of Elections during regular business hours to register OR
  • Download a registration form and mail it to your county Board of Elections at least 25 days before the election you want to vote in.
  • You can also obtain a voter registration form at any public library – local policies vary on whether they will turn the form in or if you need to turn it in yourself.
  • If you are a student, be aware that high schools are required under state law (NC General Statute 163-82.23) to have registration forms for you to use.
  • Obtain a registration form at your local Department of Social Services or public health office.
  • Register to vote at any Division of Motor Vehicles office when you apply for a new or renewed driver’s license.
  • Register during a voter registration drive. The person taking your completed form must submit it at least 25 days before the next election. They may not pre-mark the form with a party affiliation or destroy the form if they don’t like your choice of a party affiliation.

(2) Complete the Form. Before you turn in your registration form, review it carefully. Be sure you sign and date it, fill in all the questions, including your date of birth, and check all the appropriate boxes. Spell out your name as it appears on the identity document whose number you provide in Section 3. If you do not give your NC driver’s license number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number, be sure to provide the documents requested on the form, or be prepared to show one of those documents when you first vote in person. Include a phone number on the form; it’s used by election officials to call you for missing information.

If you have trouble understanding the form, review this tip sheet or call your county Board of Elections.

(3) Submit the Form. There are several ways to submit a Voter Registration Form before the 25-days deadline before the election you want to vote in

  • Submit the form in-person (during regular business hours) or by mail to your county Board of Elections at least 25 days before the election you want to vote in.
  • Submit the form at any Division of Motor Vehicles office when you apply for a new or renewed driver’s license.
  • IF you register during a voter registration drive, the person taking your completed form must submit it at least 25 days before the next election.

⚠️ Remember! You must submit the form at least 25 days before the election you want to vote in. If you don’t make this deadline, you should use Same-Day Registration during Early Voting.  

To verify your identity, you must provide your birth date and your NC driver’s license (or DMV non-operator’s ID card) number, if you have one. If not, provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have a SSN or NC license, you will need to present another form of identification, either when you mail in the form or when you first vote. Acceptable forms of ID include (1) a photo ID from any business, government, or nonprofit (including a student ID), or (2) any one of the following documents, with your name and current residential address:

  • 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, registration, permit, invoice, check, letter, or any other document from a local, state, or federal government agency.

⚠️ NOTE: Intentionally lying on a voter registration form is a felony – do not give incorrect information.

You can use any one of the ways below to get a registration form to fill out and submit 25 days before election day to have it count in time for the upcoming election:

  • Visit your county Board of Elections during regular business hours to register OR
  • Download a registration form and mail it to your county Board of Elections at least 25 days before the election you want to vote in.
  • You can also obtain a voter registration form at any public library – local policies vary on whether they will turn the form in or if you need to turn it in yourself.
  • If you are a student, be aware that high schools are required under state law (NC General Statute 163-82.23) to have registration forms for you to use.
  • Obtain a registration form at your local Department of Social Services or public health office.
  • Register to vote at any Division of Motor Vehicles office when you apply for a new or renewed driver’s license.
  • Register during a voter registration drive. The person taking your completed form must submit it at least 25 days before the next election. They may not pre-mark the form with a party affiliation or destroy the form if they don’t like your choice of a party affiliation.

To avoid problems when you vote, you should fill out a new voter registration form if:

  • You change your address.
  • You change your name.
  • You change your party affiliation.

If you are changing your address to a new county, be sure to provide your previous address or at least the old county in the appropriate section of the registration form, in order to cancel your prior registration. Also fill out this section if you are changing any other information, including your name or your party affiliation. It helps to change your registration as soon as possible. Your county Board of Elections depends on an accurate count of voters in each precinct to plan staffing – clean voters rolls can mean shorter lines at the polls.

You may update some information on Election Day if you are registered in the county, as well as make changes using Same Day Registration.

After about two or three weeks, you should receive a voter registration card in the mail with the name and location of your voting precinct and polling place. You do not need to show this card when you vote. If you have not received your card within three weeks of registering, you should call your COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS and make sure your voter registration form is being processed.