How to Vote in North Carolina

FT Contributor  | 

How to Register to Vote in North Carolina

Registering to vote in North Carolina requires completing a registration form and returning it by mail or in person to your county board of elections office. The form is available online, at local public libraries, hgh schools and colleges. Residents can also register to vote in person at the DMV, and at certain state agencies, such as the Department of Social Services office.

To register as a North Carolina voter, you must meet certain criteria, including:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen;
  • You must have resided at your current address for at least 30 days prior to the election date;
  • You must be at least 18 years old, or 16 years old and turn 18 before the next general election in order to vote;
  • You’re not serving a prison sentence or on probation or parole for a felony.

All voter registration forms must be signed by hand using ink. The state will not accept digitally signed forms. Once your form is submitted and processed, you will receive a voter registration card in the mail within one to two weeks. To vote in any election, you must be registered 25 days before the election date.

Am I Registered to Vote in North Carolina?

North Carolina voters can check on their registration status online by visiting the Voter Search page. By entering your name, birth year, and county, you’ll confirm your registration, find your polling place, and view sample ballots for upcoming elections. You can also view your voter history on this page. If you have requested an absentee ballot, its status is updated here as well.

Early Voting in North Carolina

North Carolina offers early voting opportunities. Residents may also register to vote in person on certain early voting days in a process known as “Same Day Registration.” To register and vote on the same day, you must appear in person and provide documentation of your name and current North Carolina address. Once registered, you may cast your vote, which will be held back until the registrar can confirm your eligibility to vote in the state. If your details cannot be confirmed, then your vote will not be counted.

If you aren’t registering to vote, you can still vote early. North Carolina offers “one stop early voting,” which allows voters to cast their ballots at any polling place. On Election Day, voters can only vote in their assigned precinct. Early voting ballots are treated like absentee ballots.

Traditional mail-in absentee ballots are also available to North Carolina voters. You must make the request by mail using the State Absentee Ballot Request Form. Mail the form to your county board of elections as listed on the form. All requests must be made by 5 p.m. the Tuesday prior to the election. For the November 3 general election, the deadline is Tuesday, October 27.

Voting in North Carolina on Election Day

On Election Day, voters should head to their designated polling place as listed on their voter registration card. If you aren’t sure where to go, you may look up your polling place online using your address.

Currently, North Carolina voters do not need to show identification to vote at polling places. On December 31, 2019, a federal district court blocked the voter-ID rule from taking effect, and there is no word on when or if it will be put in place before the November 3, 2020 general election.

Why Voting Is Important

Some people choose not to vote because they question whether their vote truly matters. The short answer is that yes, everyone’s vote matters, and it’s important to vote even if your choices don’t win. Voting sends a message to leaders about what their constituents are thinking, and even if you aren’t voting to send people to Washington, D.C., your votes determine what takes place on a local level.

In fact, more elections take place on the local level than on the national level, and voting makes a difference in important issues in North Carolina, from the state taxes you pay to the state minimum wage and policies related to social issues. So even though you may be just one person, your vote matters. Don’t waste the opportunity to use it.


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