How can I vote with an Absentee Ballot?
Any registered voter can vote through the mail by using an Absentee Ballot. No excuse or special reason is needed to use this process. Follow these steps:
1. 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 much as 60 days before major elections, but only 30 days before a municipal election. The completed request may be scanned and emailed, faxed, or mailed to the county Board of Elections. 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 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. Receive 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.
3. 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); they must 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.
4. Return the Ballot in the Envelope: To be counted, the Ballot must be received by 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. 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.
* A near relative is 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.
Note: A separate Absentee Ballot request must be made for the Primary and General Election, 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.