Any registered voter in North Carolina who is qualified to vote in an election can either request and receive a mail-in absentee ballot or vote during One-Stop for any election, whether it is a statewide primary, general election, or special election on constitutional amendments, referendum or bond proposals, or any municipal election in which absentee voting is allowed. No special circumstance or excuse is needed to receive and vote a mail-in absentee ballot.
The absentee public register for an election can be accessed here. Interested parties can select the election date and view public data regarding absentee voting for that election.
“Until further order of the court, voters are not required to show photo ID. The law was enjoined by a federal district court on December 31, 2019. This page will be updated if new information becomes available.” For more information, click here.
A person must be a registered voter in their North Carolina County of residence in order to request an absentee ballot. If not registered to vote in the proper county, a person must submit a voter registration application along with the State Absentee Ballot Request Form. The deadline to register to vote is 25 days prior to the date of the election. Registered voters may request a ballot through the new online Absentee Request Portal on the NC State Board of Elections website or fill out the NC State Absentee Request Form. For more information about how to vote absentee-by-mail, click here.
The voter’s full name, residential address, date of birth and an identification number must be provided on this form. This information will be used to confirm your voter registration. In addition, this form must be signed by the voter or the voter’s near relative or qualified legal guardian. The absentee ballot request form may also serve as a voter change form; however, changes in voter registration may only be made by the voter.
Either the voter or the voter’s near relative or qualified legal guardian may request an absentee ballot. A “near relative” is defined as the voter’s spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild.
If a registered voter is a patient in any hospital, clinic, nursing home or rest home, it is unlawful for any owner, manager, director, employee, or other person, other than the voter’s near relative or verifiable legal guardian, to request an absentee ballot on behalf of the voter.
If the voter’s NC driver license number, NC DMV-issued identification card number, or last four digits of social security number is not provided, a copy of one of the following must be provided along with the request form:
The voter is required to mark the ballot in the presence of two witnesses who are at least 18 years of age, or you may use one witness, if the person is a notary public. Your witnesses do not need to see how you vote; instead, they are witnessing that you are voting on your own accord. The successful submission of a ballot requires the completion of all required sections on the absentee container-return envelope. The voter must ensure that they have signed the Voter’s Certification section and the voter’s two witnesses, or a notary public, have completed all required elements in the Witness section on the container-return envelope. The following persons may not be your absentee witness:
If the voter, due to a disability, required assistance in marking the ballot or needed assistance in mailing the ballot, the person providing this assistance must complete the Voter Assistant Certification also found on the container- return envelope. This portion of the container-return envelope differs from the “Witness” portion of the envelope, and is only required in situations where the voter received assistance completing or mailing the ballot.
A late civilian ballot is one that received after the absentee-ballot receipt deadline by (1) 5 p.m. on Election Day or (2), if postmarked on or before Election Day and received by mail on the Friday after Election Day (three days after the election).
Some citizens, such as people serving in the military who are away from their permanent home on Election Day, their families, or U.S. citizens who are living abroad, have special voting rights and ways to register to vote. These people have the choice of either requesting a mail-in absentee ballot the same way as other registered voters, or they can apply to register and/or vote through special programs for military and overseas voters as described below.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is a federal law that requires states to allow certain voters who are absent from their county of residence to have special rights that provide an expedited means for them to register and vote by mail-in absentee ballot. In order to qualify under the provisions of UOCAVA in this state, a voter must be a legal resident of North Carolina. Citizens covered by UOCAVA include:
UOCAVA voters may use the following forms to register and/or request an absentee ballot:
A military-overseas voter need only apply for an absentee ballot by one method; either the FPCA or the FWAB, but not both. Generally speaking, the FWAB serves as a backup to the FPCA. For most voters the FPCA is the best option. FWAB users will need to reference the UOCAVA Election Notice for a list of candidates running.
Previously registered UOCAVA voters may also use the State Absentee Ballot Request Form to request an absentee ballot. Registered voters may request a ballot through the new online Absentee Request Portal on the NC State Board of Elections website.
For more information on absentee voting for UOCAVA voters, click here .
To view the 2021 Municipal Elections notice required under UOCAVA, click here.
A Multipartisan Assistance Team, or “MAT” is a group appointed by the New Hanover County Board of Elections to provide assistance with absentee-by-mail voting to voters living at assisted-living facilities.
MAT visits help facilities ensure compliance with N. C. General Statute §163-226.3(a)(4). According to this statute, the following individuals are legally prohibited from providing absentee assistance to voters: owners, managers, directors, and employees of hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, or rest homes (“facilities”). Violation of this law is a Class I felony [N.C.G.S. § 163-226.3].
In recognition of the fact that some facility residents and patients may not have access to a near relative or legal guardian to provide them with assistance, MATs ensure that facility residents are provided lawful assistance in voting. The makeup of MAT teams includes, at minimum, two voters whose voter registration is affiliated with two different political parties (or, in the alternative, those who were unanimously appointed by a bipartisan County Board of Elections) who are trained to provide absentee voting assistance.
MATs offer two major services:
If you are a voter living in a facility and would like to schedule a MAT visit, contact the activity coordinator of your facility. If you do not know who the activity coordinator is, or if there is no activity coordinator, talk to staff or management at your facility. These representatives can use the information below to schedule a MAT visit for any residents who are in need of these resources.
If you are a facility representative, such as an activity coordinator, who would like to schedule a MAT visit for your facility CLICK HERE.
Once the request has been submitted, a New Hanover County Board of Elections representative will be in touch with process information and scheduling.