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North Carolina Voting Quick Facts

Who Can Register to vote in North Carolina

Voter Registration Deadline

The deadline to register to vote in North Carolina is 25 days before the date of an election. The voter registration application must be received by the applicant’s county boards of elections by this date. If an application is received after the deadline, the application may still be timely if it was mailed and it is postmarked on or before the voter registration deadline; otherwise, the application will not be processed until after the election. Persons who register at the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles or another voter registration agency will be considered registered as of the date the application is given to the agency. As long as this date is on or before the voter registration deadline, then the application will be deemed timely for an upcoming election.

Individuals who miss the registration deadline may register in person and then vote at one-stop voting sites in the person's county of residence during the one-stop absentee voting period. In order to register during a one-stop period, the applicant must show acceptable proof of name and residence in the county.Learn about Election Day Registration.

To register to vote in the State of North Carolina, an individual must meet the following qualifications:

  • You are a United States citizen;
  • MMust be a resident of the county, and prior to voting in an election, must have resided at his or her residential address for at least 30 days prior to the date of the election..
  • Prior to voting, must be a resident of the county for at least 30 days prior to election day.
  • Must be at least 18 years old or will be 18 by the date of the next general election.
  • Must not be serving a sentence for a felony conviction (including probation or on parole). If previously convicted of a felony, the person’s citizenship rights must be restored. Citizenship and voting rights are automatically restored upon completion of the sentence. No special document is needed.
  • Must rescind any previous registration in another county or state.

Learn more about Who Can Register To Vote In North Carolina?

How Do I Register To Vote in North Carolina

Voting At The Polls On Election Day

WHAT IS AN ACCEPTABLE FORM OF IDENTIFICATION FOR VOTING

Beginning in 2016, North Carolina will require voters to show a photo identification (photo ID) when they present to vote in person. This change is a result of the Voter Information Verification Act or “VIVA.” (S.L. 2013-381). Until 2016, most voters will not be required to show any form of identification when they vote.

  • A Drivers license issued by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles including a learner’s permit or a provisional license. These cards may be expired up for four (4) years before they are presented for voting.
  • A United States passport (unexpired), including both the passport book and a passport card, issued by the United States Department of the State.
  • A Veterans ID Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. A Veterans ID card bearing an expiration date must be unexpired, but Veterans ID cards without expiration date are also acceptable.
  • A United States Military ID Card issued by the United States Department of Defense, including those issued to dependents, retired military personnel, or civilians. A Military ID bearing an expiration date must be unexpired, but Military ID cards without an expiration date are also acceptable
  • A Tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe. If the card bears an expiration date, it must be unexpired. If it does not bear an expiration date, it must bear a printed issuance date that is not older than eight (8) years before it is presented for voting
  • A tribal enrollment card issued by a state recognized tribe, provided that it has been approved by the state Board of Elections. This card must be unexpired
  • A drivers license or non operators ideantifcation card issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or commonwealth or the United States, but only if the voter registered to vote within ninety (90) days of the election. This card must be unexpaired.

Learn more about Voting at the Polls on Election Day

Who Can Vote in Primary Elections in North Carolina

Both Democrats and Republicans hold Semi-closed Primaries

State law provides for closed primaries, but both parties have opened them up to unaffiliated voters, who may choose on Election Day.

I'm Unaffiliated. Can I vote in the primary?

If you registered as an Unaffiliated voter and want to vote in the Primary, you can ask for a Republican, Democratic, Libertarian or Nonpartisan ballot. Your choice does not change your Unaffiliated status or obligate you to vote for a party's candidates in the General Election. However, if there is a Primary Runoff, you can only participate in the Runoff of the same party that you selected in the original Primary.

Click here for additional information

Who Can Vote Absentee in North Carolina

Absentee voting allows registered voters to vote on a day other than Election Day. There are three types of absentee voting in North Carolina. Click the links below for more information.

Absentee Voting by Mail

  • Any registered North Carolina voter can request a mail-in absentee ballot. This type of absentee voting allows a voter or a near relative or legal guardian to request that an absentee ballot be sent to the voter by mail. The voter may vote the ballot and return it to the county board of elections by the ballot return deadline.
  • Military-Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting
  • Absent uniformed services members (and their eligible dependents) and U.S. citizens living outside of the United States may request an absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). This federal act and its corresponding law in this state allows uniformed service members and overseas citizens who are absent from their county of residence in North Carolina to request, receive and return an absentee ballot under special rights.
  • One-stop Absentee Voting (Early Voting)
  • One-stop absentee voting (in-person absentee voting, or early voting) allows registered voters to go in person to their county board of elections office (or an alternative location) to vote an absentee ballot. One-stop absentee voting is conducted starting on the second Thursday before the election and ends at 1:00 p.m. on the last Saturday before the election.

Learn more about Absentee Voting

What If My Address Has Changed

What if I have moved?

  • When you move within a county, you should complete an in-county change of address. This can be completed on your voter identification card, a signed letter to your local board of elections, or on the form specified above.
  • When you move from one county to another, you will need to apply for voter registration in your new county of residence. Use the form specified above, request that an application be mailed to you, or pick up a form at any local board of elections or public library. Note that when you move within the State, the law requires that you update the address on your driver's license within 60 days. When you obtain a duplicate drivers license, you may also elect to update your voter registration information as well.
  • Note that if you move during a time close to an election, the following rules apply:
  • If you have moved more than 30 days prior to the election, you will need to update your registration with your new address (or if applicable, register to vote in your new county of residence) no later than 25 days prior to the election. You will then be registered and may possibly have a new polling location. On election day, if you failed to update your voter registration, you may still vote at your new polling location, as long as you have not moved out of the county of your existing registration. Since your move was unreported, you may be asked to vote a provisional ballot.
  • If you have moved fewer than 30 days prior to the election, you are still qualified to vote in your prior polling place and may vote only there, even if you moved outside of your county.
  • It is important that the board of elections is able to contact you by mail to inform you of changes to your polling place and/or voting districts, so be sure to notify the board of any changes to your mailing address.

College Student

  • At School. Students can establish residency in North Carolina if they have a present intention to remain at their North Carolina school address for the time being, and they intend to make it their principal home. Any other interpretation of the residency laws is unconstitutional. You do not have to intend to stay in North Carolina after graduation or have any definite plans, as long as you do not currently intend to return to your former home.[5] If your registration is denied by the county board of elections based on your residency, you will be given notice and may appeal within five days.[6]

Learn more about Movers/college students Voting

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When Is The Next Election?

Upcoming Elections Calendar - Election dates and deadlines - Check North Carolina upcoming elections schedule

Poll Hours: 6:30 AM-7:30 PM

In every election, the voting place shall be open at 6:30 A.M. and shall be closed at 7:30 P.M. If the polls are delayed in opening for more than 15 minutes, or are interrupted for more than 15 minutes after opening, the State Board of Elections may extend the closing time by an equal number of minutes. As authorized by law, the State Board of Elections shall be available either in person or by teleconference on the day of election to approve any such extension.
If any voter is in line to vote at the time the polls are closed, that voter shall be permitted to vote. No voter shall be permitted to vote who arrives at the voting place after the closing of the polls.

How can I find my polling location?

If you do not know where your polling place is,you can use www.ncsbe.gov to find your voting precinct and polling location. If you have any issues or questions, please contact your County Clerk

Can I Register At The Polls On Election Day?

NO: North Carolina does not provide Same Day Voter Registration. You must register to vote by the voter registration deadline in order to vote in an election. If you miss the voter registration deadline for an election you should contact your local election office.

Can I Take Time Off For Voting?

Time off to vote is subject to the employer. North Carolina state law does not require employers to grant time off to vote for employees.

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