North Carolina Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated March 22, 2016
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter Registration: Postmarked 25 days before the election.
  • Absentee Ballot Application: Received by the Tuesday before the election by 5:00 p.m.
  • Voted Absentee Ballot: Postmarked by election day and received by 5:00 p.m. on the 3rd day after the election; Received by 5:00 p.m the day before the election if returned in person 

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

Recommended: Use our Voter Registration Tool.  Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form.  For faster processing, mail the form directly to your County Board of Elections.

You can also download North Carolina's voter registration form. Return the completed form to your county County Board of Elections.

Verify your voter registration

It's best to verify your voter registration before applying for your absentee ballot.  If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost your voter registration card. You don't actually need it to vote.

Make sure you're qualified to vote by absentee ballot

Good news! Any registered North Carolina voter can vote by absentee ballot.

Apply for your absentee ballot

  • The earliest day to apply for an absentee ballot is 50 days before election day; the deadline for applying is the Tuesday prior to election day.
  • Complete the North Carolina Official Absentee Ballot Request Form.  
  • Return the completed form to your County Board of Elections.
  • A "near relative" can also submit a written request on your behalf.  A near relative is a spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild.

WARNING: Although it does not say so on the application, your signature needs to be original. North Carolina will not accept digital signatures.

Receive, complete, and return your absentee ballot

  • Your county board will process your application and mail you a ballot and a return envelope.
  • Fill out the ballot and sign where indicated.
  • You need to fill out the ballot in the presence of either a notary or two witnesses, who will also need to sign the ballot. 
  • Return your voted absentee ballot to your county Board of Elections
  • Your ballot must be receied by 5pm the day before the election in order to be counted.

Additional Information

Elections Website:
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 


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