This section describes the ways to vote, including voting early, using an absentee ballot, or voting on Election Day – and what to do if you have not registered or if you have recently moved.
Where and when do I vote on Election Day?
Your polling place depends on what precinct you live in; the polling location is listed on the voter card you were mailed after you registered. If you don’t have your card (and you do not need it to vote), you can find your polling place by clicking here or here. You can also call your county Board of Elections for help.
All polling places are open from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM on Election Day. If you are in line at 7:30 PM, you will be allowed to vote. Some Early Voting centers are not precinct polling places and they will not be open on Election Day.
It is important that you vote in your home precinct. If you vote in the wrong precinct, your ballot will not count.
How can I vote early?
Beginning 12 days before an election, all NC counties must open at least one location where citizens can vote early. This is sometimes called “One-Stop Absentee Voting” or “In-Person Absentee Voting” because you are voting early in person and you will be “absent” on Election Day. (You can also vote early by mail with an Absentee Ballot.)
Any voter in the county can use any of the Early Voting sites in the county. You do not need an excuse to use Early Voting.
The location and hours of the Early Voting sites will be posted here when they are announced. You can also contact your county Board of Elections for Early Voting sites and times where you live, because those those will vary from county to county. Many counties have sites open on evenings and Saturdays, or even a Sunday. At least one site in your county will be open for a few hours on the Saturday before Election Day (3 days before Election Day), which is when Early Voting ends.
Note: All ballots cast early by eligible voters are counted and help determine the election winner, just like the ballots cast on Election Day. It’s a myth that they are not counted the same.
What if I can’t vote in person?
If you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, you have the option to send your vote via mail using an absentee ballot.
To request an absentee ballot, you or a near relative must submit an Absentee Ballot request form to your county Board of Elections (be sure the request is signed). This request can be made as early as 50 days before the election, but it must be received at least 7 days before Election Day, by 5 PM.
Where do I vote if I’ve recently moved?
If you registered to vote but have moved since then, where you vote depends on how long you’ve been at your new address.
If you moved to a different precinct in your county less than 30 days before the election, you can vote at your old precinct’s polling place on Election Day. If it has been more than 30 days, you can either (1) go to your old precinct, ask for a “transfer,” take it to your new precinct’s polling place and vote, or (2) go to your new polling place and ask for a Provisional Ballot if your name is not on the voter roll.
If you moved to a different county, then you need to register like a new voter by submitting a registration form 25 days before the election.
What if I have a problem? What is a Provisional Ballot?
If the election officials can not find your name on the list of registered voters when you go to vote, or if you encounter any other problem, you have the right to receive what is called a “Provisional Ballot.” You will have to fill out a form in addition to your ballot; the form helps the officials research your registration history. If your eligibility to vote is verified, your ballot will count like a regular ballot. You will be given a phone number and PIN number or a website to use to check the status of your Provisional Ballot and learn if it has been approved or rejected.