Absentee Voting

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.


General Instructions

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.

Completing the Form

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.

Who may make a request for an absentee ballot

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.

Proof of Identification

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:

  1. A current and valid photo identification.
  2. A document that shows the name and residential address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.

Ballot Availability

  • 50 days prior to the date of a statewide primary election
  • 60 days prior to the date of a statewide general election
  • 30 days prior to the date of municipal elections

Submitting the form

Submit this form to the New Hanover County Board of Elections no later than 5:00 pm on the Tuesday before the date of the election.

Address: 230 Government Center Drive Suite 38 Wilmington, NC 28403
Email: absrequest@nhcgov.com
Fax: 910-798-7295

Visit www.ncsbe.gov to check the status of your absentee request.


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:

  • A member of the active or reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard of the United States who is on active duty.
  • A member of the Merchant Marine, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, or the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.
  • A member of the National Guard or state militia unit who is on activated status.
  • A spouse or dependent of a uniformed services member as listed above.
  • U.S. citizens residing outside the United States.


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.

For more information on absentee voting for UOCAVA voters, click here .

To view the 2019 Municipal Elections notice required under UOCAVA, click here.

What is a MAT?

A Multipartisan Assistance Team, or “MAT” is a group of voters who have been appointed by the local County Board of Elections to provide assistance with absentee-by-mail voting to voters living at assisted-living facilities. The makeup of the team includes, at minimum, 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).

What services do MATs offer?

MATs offer two major services:

  • Requesting an absentee-by-mail ballot
    • To receive an absentee ballot, a State Absentee Ballot Request Form must be completed. MATs provide this form and may help fill it out if necessary. The MAT will deliver the completed form back to the Board of Elections office, and the ballot will be mailed to the voter in the following days.
  • Casting an absentee-by-mail ballot
    • Once a mail-in absentee ballot has been requested, the ballot will arrive in the mail. MATs can help with marking the ballot, completing the return envelope and serving as witnesses to the act of voting.

How to schedule a MAT visit?

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.

Click here to request a MAT visit to your facility. Once the request has been submitted, a New Hanover County Board of Elections representative will be in touch.



Board of Elections: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 38 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7330 • Fax 910-798-7295