How can I vote with an Absentee Ballot?

You can vote through the mail by using an Absentee Ballot. The process has several steps:

  • Request:  You or a near relative must complete an Absentee Ballot request form (be sure the request is signed). This request can be made as early as 50 days before the election, but it must be received at least 7 days before Election Day, by 5 PM. The request form will ask for your North Carolina driver’s license or 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 to your county Board of Elections:
    • 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.
  • Receive Ballot: The Board will send these items to the mailing address you provide (the items can not be picked up in person):
    • An Absentee Ballot,
    • A return envelope with a certificate statement on it, and
    • An instruction sheet.
  • Mark Ballot, Fill out Certificate, Return in Envelope:  You mark the Ballot with your choices in the presence of two witnesses (or notary public) who are at least 18 years old and not candidates in the election. The witnesses should not violate your privacy as you vote (unless you need assistance due to a disability); they must sign the certificate on the return envelope and provide their address. Make sure all parts of the form on the envelope are filled out, including your signature, then insert the Ballot in the envelope, and seal and return it as instructed to your county Board of Elections.

To be counted, the Ballot must be delivered to the local Board by 5 PM on Election Day, or it must be postmarked by Election Day and arrive in the mail by 5 PM three days later.  The Ballot can be hand-delivered to an Early Voting location or the county Board of Elections office only by the voter or the voter’s near relative.

Here are additional rules about voting with an Absentee Ballot:

  • An Absentee Ballot can be requested by any registered voter or the voter’s near relative. Near relatives include a parent, legal guardian, spouse, sibling, grandparent, child, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, step parent or step child.
  • A separate Absentee Ballot request must be made for the Primary and General Election, unless you are in the military or if illness or physical disability renders you unable to go the polls during an entire election cycle. Under those circumstances, you can ask for a Primary and General Election Ballot with a single request. You will need to renew this request each year.
  • The request must be made using the Absentee Ballot request form. Copies of the form are available from any county Board of Elections or download one here.
  • Voters outside the U.S. or in the military may have the option of faxing or scanning their Absentee Ballot request and sending it in as an attachment to an email – contact your county Board of Elections for details. Keep in mind that email from other countries may be blocked by spam filters. If you do not receive an acknowledgment after several days, you may want to try another method, such as mailing or faxing in your request.
  • If you are registered as an Unaffiliated voter and request an Absentee Ballot for the Primary, you may request a Ballot for either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. If you do not specify a party’s Primary Ballot, you will receive a Ballot without any partisan races on it. (Note: If you are registered with a party, you do not have a choice; you will receive the Primary Ballot for your party.)

If you vote using an Absentee Ballot: Don’t forget to vote in the non-partisan contests on the Ballot.

Learn more about voting in NC