Absentee Ballot FAQs

How do I get an absentee by mail ballot?

The Absentee Ballot Request Form is available on the NC State Board of Elections website at  https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Forms/NCAbsenteeBallotRequestForm.pdf.  This form must be printed, completed, signed and delivered by mail (USPS, FedEx, DHL or UPS) or in person to your local county Board of Election. If you do not have access to a computer, you can call your local Board of Election office to request one. Effective January 1, 2020 it cannot be faxed or emailed.

When can I apply for an absentee by mail ballot?

You can request an absentee by mail ballot now through 5:00pm on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

Why should I apply for an absentee by mail ballot now?

You should expect that there will be a heavy demand for absentee by mail ballots this year. Expect that the USPS and your local county Board of Election will be overwhelmed as we get closer to the election.

When should I expect to receive my ballot for the November election?

Absentee by mail ballots will be mailed from your local county Board of Election beginning on September 4, 2020.

Can I vote in person even if I requested an absentee ballot?

Yes. If you have not yet returned your voted absentee by mail ballot, you may vote at an early voting polling site or at your precinct on election day. You may destroy your unvoted absen- tee by mail ballot once you have voted in person.

How do I know that people are not voting absentee and in person?

Once your absentee by mail ballot is received and accepted by the Board of Election you will be marked as voted in your voter record and your name will not appear in the poll book at early voting or on election day. Should there be a delay in recording your absentee by mail vote, the Board of Election will be able to retrieve your absentee ballot and destroy it so that only your in-person ballot will be counted.

When do I need to return my absentee by mail ballot?

Absentee by mail ballots must be received at your county Board of Election by 5:00pm on Tuesday, November 3. If mailed, they must be received within three days of the election and postmarked on or before Election Day.

How will I know if my absentee by mail ballot has been received and counted?

When absentee by mail ballots are returned to your county Board of Election, they are re-viewed by staff to make sure the ballot application form on the envelope is fully and correctly completed. If there are missing or questionable items, a staff member will get in touch with you for clarification or to offer a replacement ballot. We do not know if every county Board of Election will do this for every problematic ballot application envelope this year.

The NC State Board of Elections tracks this information in the Voter/Absentee Lookup tool at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/. Following the directions on that link you will be able to review the status of your absentee by mail ballot: if the returned ballot was received and if it was “approved.”

How is my absentee ballot counted?

Each ballot application envelope is evaluated by the appointed members of the Board of Elec- tions who make the final determination of whether the ballot application should be accepted. This is done throughout the weeks leading up to the election. After the polls close on election day at 7:30pm the accepted absentee by mail ballots are counted and their results are includ- ed in the final Canvass of the election. Absentee by mail ballots that have been accepted are always counted and included in the election results.

What if I have other questions about voting in the November election?

The League of Women Voters maintains an outstanding digital voter guide, Vote411 at https://www.vote411.org/, a one-stop-shop for election-related information providing nonpartisan info to the public. Within Vote411.org you can register to vote, find candidate information, find out how to apply for an absentee by mail ballot and get your polling locations. Closer to the election, we provide candidate survey responses for all statewide races and local offices for about one-half of the residents of NC.

If you have questions about voting and COVID-19, go to the NCSBE at https://www.ncsbe.gov/ coronavirus.