North Dakota Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated March 15, 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: North Dakota is the only state in the US that does not require some form of voter registration
  • Absentee ballot application: No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least one month before the election
  • Voted Absentee Ballot: Postmarked on the envelope or date-stamped on email or fax by the day before the election

How to vote by absentee ballot

Make sure you're eligible to vote

North Dakota does not have formal voter registration. In order to vote in North Dakota, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen;
  • At least 18 years old on the day of election;
  • A resident of North Dakota; and
  • A resident in the precinct for 30 days preceding the election.

Precincts in North Dakota maintain a list of voters who have voted in previous elections. When a voter approaches a polling location they are asked to provide an acceptable form of identification. Then the election board will attempt to locate the voter’s name on the voting list. If the voter’s name is on the list, the voter’s name and address are verified and the voter is then allowed to vote.

If the voter is not on the list, but an election worker knows the voter to be a qualified elector of the precinct the poll worker may vouch for the voter. The voter then has the right to vote.

If the voter is not on the list and no poll worker is able to vouch for them, the voter may be challenged. As part of the challenge, the voter is asked to sign an affidavit swearing to the fact that he or she is a qualified elector of the precinct and therefore qualified to vote in the precinct. If the voter agrees to sign the affidavit, the voter must be allowed to vote. If the voter refuses to sign the affidavit, the voter may be denied the right to vote.

Make sure you're eligible to vote absentee

Good news! Every North Dakota resident can vote by absentee ballot.

Apply for your absentee ballot

North Dakota offers an online absentee application process.

You can also download and complete the North Dakota Absentee application form.

Mail or hand-deliver your application at any point during an election year to your County Election Official.  (The County Election Official is usually the County Auditor as well).

The county official will hang on to all the absentee ballot applications until the ballots are prepared (40 days before an election).  If you apply after the ballots have been prepared, you'll receive your ballot very quickly.

Receive, complete, and return your absentee ballot

Your county offiial will mail you a ballot and a return envelope.  Complete the ballot, sign where indicated, and return the ballot and any other required documents to your County Election Official. They will keep your ballot secure until it is counted on election day.  If your return your ballot in person, you must return it by the day before election day.  If you mail your absentee ballot, it must be postmarked by the day before election day. 

Additional Information 

State Election 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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