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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voting and advocacy resources by librarians for librarians

Voter Registration in North Carolina


  • Age: Must be at least 18 years old.
    • A prospective voter can submit a registration form up to two years before his/her 18th birthday, if and only if he/she will be 18 at the time of the next general election.
    • 17 year-olds may vote in a primary election if they will be 18 at the time of the general election.
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals: Must not be serving a sentence for a felony conviction (including probation or parole). If a prospective voter has previously been convicted of a felony, his/her citizenship rights must be restored. For more information on voting rights for those in the North Carolina criminal justice system, click here.
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Residence: Must live in the county of his/her registration, and have resided there for at least 30 days prior to the date of the election.
  • College students can either vote absentee in their home state/county or register to vote in North Carolina - IF :
    • So long as a student intends to make the student's home in the community where the student is physically present for the purpose of attending school while the student is attending school and has no intent to return to the student's former home after graduation, the student may claim the college community as the student's domicile. The student need not also intend to stay in the college community beyond graduation in order to establish domicile there.
  • Check to see if you are already registered at View Your Voter Registration Status.  

For more information, please visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections,

    and at the How to Register page 


  • Voter registration deadlines are : 25 days before the date of an election. For the 2024 General Election, deadline date is October 11, 2024
    • The voter registration application must be received by the applicant’s county boards of elections by this date.
    • Your county board of elections must receive your completed application, postmarked by the voter registration deadline and received no later than 20 days before a primary or election. Otherwise, your application will not be processed until after the election. 
    • Persons who register at the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles or another voter registration agency will be considered registered as of the date the application is given to the agency. As long as this date is on or before the voter registration deadline, then the application will be deemed timely for an upcoming election.
  • Also available - Persons who are not registered in a county may register to vote during the one-stop early voting period. This process is called “Same-Day Registration.” For more info., check Vote Early in Person or Register in Person During Early Voting from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

Online registration

Online registration form (in English).

Mail-in registration

Printable form

Forms also available at:

  • NC State Board of Elections
  • County Boards of Elections
  • Many public libraries
  • Public high schools or college admissions offices
  • Further, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) requires certain agencies in this state to offer voter registration services when at these locations for agency services. These agencies include are:

    • North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NC DMV)
    • Public Assistance Agencies
      • Departments of Social Services (DSS)
      • Departments of Public Health (WIC)
    • Disability Services Agencies
      • Vocational Rehabilitation offices
      • Departments of Services for the Blind
      • Departments of Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
      • Departments of Mental Health Services
      • Employment Security Commission (ESC)

In-person registration is also available at locations above. Online form has address and phone numbers for county Board of Election offices.

Refer to the box below for information about ID requirements.


Choosing a political party   

You may choose a political party affiliation (5 are recognized for North Carolina) when you register, but it is not required.                 

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move, name change, or change of political party affiliation, use the voter registration application form

Cancelling registration

 To remove yourself a voter roll, use this online form, linked from the NC State Board of Elections

        Send it to the county Board of Elections for the county in which you reside (or, resided). Use the interactive map to find your county.


ID Requirements for North Carolina Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

Online Registration

Below is from the online registration form:


Mail-in Registration

Same requirements as the for the online registration form above.

In-person Registration Form requires: 

  • Checking the boxes confirming that you are a U.S. citizen and that you meet the age requirements.
  • Your legal first name, last name, and suffix (if applicable).
  • Your date of birth.
  • One of the following:
    • An identification number: Your NC Driver’s License Number/NC DMV ID Number or, if you do not have one, the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
    • If you do not have one of those forms of identification, you must check the box confirming that you do not have one.
  • Residential address, including street number, name, and type, and unit number (if applicable), city, zip code, and county.
  • Mailing address, if you do not receive mail at your residential address.
  • Your signature and date attesting to your qualifications to vote.

Additional optional information about you can also be provided on your voter registration form, including your gender, ethnicity, and race. You may also choose to affiliate with a political party recognized in North Carolina. And your contact information can be listed so that your county board of elections can contact you with any questions.


ID Requirements for Voting


Voters are asked to present a valid photo identification for the 2024 elections:  Acceptable forms of Photo ID.  If you do not have a valid photo ID, you may obtain one from your county board of elections prior to the elections, through the end of the early voting period,.  

More information on ID requirements - can change, per the NC State Board of Elections.


Casting a Ballot in North Carolina

Important Dates

  • Voter registration deadline for the 2024 Primary Election, February 9, 2024  (25 days before an election)

  • Voter registration deadline for the 2024 General Election, October 11, 2024  (25 days before an election)

  • In-Person early voting period for Primary Election, February 15 - March 2, 2024

  • Absentee Ballot request deadline for Primary Election- February 27,  ("vote by mail" page on NC State Board of Elections)

  • Primary election absentee ballot return deadline - March 5, 2024

  • General election absentee ballot return deadline - November 5, 2022 

  • In-person early voting period for General Election:: October 17 -  November 2, 2024, 3:00pm  (check the One-stop early voting site for locations)

  • General Election:   November 5, 2024
  • Deadline for provisional voter to show an acceptable photo ID or HAVA ID to county board of elections is 5:00pm Thursday, November 14, 2024.

Absentee voting

Opening/closing dates

  • Absentee ballot for the November 5, 2024  general election can be requested until October 29, 2024 at 5:00pm.
  • Completed absentee ballots for the November 5 general election must be received by 7:30 pm on November 5...
  • For more info.: NC State Board of Elections Vote by Mail

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

    General information for Special Voting Options for Military & Overseas Voters can be found on the state board elections page.

The two special ways to register and vote for military and overseas voters are the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) and the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The advantage of the FPCA is that the voter receives a full local ballot that includes all ballot choices, including local contest and ballot items. Meanwhile, the FWAB is a simpler option if the voter's primary objective is to vote in prominent federal contests, such as the race for U.S. President. However, a voter may vote for all contests (federal, state and local) for which he or she is eligible, but the voter must obtain information for local contests and ballot items in order to write in a choice for those items.

A military-overseas voter need only apply for an absentee ballot by one method; either the FPAC 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

  • FPCA: Absentee ballots are available 30 days prior to municipal elections for those municipalities that permit absentee voting, 50 days prior to statewide primaries, and 60 days prior to general elections. For any other type of election, ballots will be available 50 days prior to the election. After submitting a FPCA, military-overseas voters will receive a ballot for any election for which they are eligible during the year that the request is received.
  • FWAB: The voter can vote for any ballot items that would be on the regular ballot, however, the voter must obtain the choices for those ballot items. The voter can either obtain this information by contacting his or her local county board of elections, or by looking up his or her sample ballot on the State Board of Election main page. The FWAB is an official military-overseas ballot, so if you submit a FWAB, your county board of elections will not send you a regular ballot.
  • Deadline to return ballot: The military-overseas voter may return his or her voted ballot, including a FWAB, via mail, fax or email. The deadline to return military-overseas ballots is by the close of polls on Election Day (7:30 p.m. EST). If the ballot is received later than that hour, it will not be timely, unless the voter transmitted the ballot by 12:01 a.m. on the day of the election (voter time) and the county board receives the ballot by the last business day before the county canvass. The county canvass is normally conducted 10 days after the General Election and 7 days after other elections. When returning the ballot by mail, no postmark is required.

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

No special circumstance or reason is needed to receive and vote a mail-in absentee ballot. [From the state Board of Elections.


Vote by Mail portal


Polling places and hours

  • Polling Place Search (official, from North Carolina State Board of Elections)
  • For the general election, polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Time off to vote: North Carolina does not require employers to give employees time off to vote.

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places.  Check your local newspaper or broadcast news station for these organizations.


Help for voters with disabilities

  • North Carolina law allows any voter to receive assistance going in or out of a voting booth, as well as preparing a ballot, if the person providing help is a near relative or legal guardian of the voter.
  • Some voters may receive help from other assistants. If a voter meets any condition below, he or she is eligible to get help from a person of their choice, except the voter's employer or union representative, or an agent thereof.

    They are:

    • a voter who, because of physical disability, is unable to enter the voting booth without help.
    • a voter who, because of physical disability, is unable to mark a ballot without help
    • a voter who, because of illiteracy, is unable to mark a ballot without help
    • a voter who, because of blindness, is unable to enter the voting booth or mark a ballot without help
  • Any voter who qualifies for assistance may ask for help at any one-stop early voting site or Election Day polling place.

  • Every voting site offers curbside voting is an option for voters unable to enter the polling place due to age or physical or mental disability, or have a medical condition that puts them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 , or should not wear a mask due to a medical or behavioral condition or disability, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.



Where to get more info on candidates: League of Women Voters ; local newspapers (daily and weekly)

Sample ballots

  •  2024 Elections - find your sample ballot using Voter Search


Primaries vs. general elections

  • Primary elections are conducted to select each party’s candidates in the general election.
  • In North Carolina, an Unaffiliated voter can may choose the Democrat, Libertarian, Republican or nonpartisan ballot (if available).
  • Some primary elections are non-partisan.
  • In a general election, voters are not required to have a party affiliation.


Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot

Federal (even years)

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2024)

Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2024)

Representative (elected every two years)

State (even years)

Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor, Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Insurance (elected every four years; next election in 2024 )

State Senator (elected every two years)

State Representative (elected every two years)

Statewide ballot measures

Municipal (most are elected in odd years)

County commissions


Superior Court ; District Court

Register of Deeds

Local ballot measures

For more information, see Types of Elections

Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?

Important Dates


Voter Registration deadline - 25 days before the election. For the 2024 General Election, deadline is October 11.

In person early Voting is from October 17, 2024 to November 2, 2024  (3:00pm)

Deadline to request absentee ballot: October 29, 2024, 5:00pm

Absentee ballot return deadline for 2024 general election is 7:30pm, November 5, 2024

Election Day is November 5, 2024


Who conducts elections?

  • The State Board of Elections (State Board) is the state agency charged with the administration of the elections process and campaign finance disclosure and compliance.
  •  The State's 100 County Boards of Elections conduct local elections, operate voting sites, maintain voter registration lists and handle numerous aspects of election administration. The office of the State Board works in conjunction with County Boards of Elections offices to ensure that elections are conducted lawfully and fairly.

Voter Bill of Rights

none official


Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted


Campaign finance

 Campaign Finance Resources provides access to candidates' campaign funding and election reports and Political Action Committee campaign finance filings.

How to contact your elected officials:

Find your elected state officials at the North Carolina government website.

Members of Congress from North Carolina can be found from the website.

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections

Election Protection Hotlines

1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) (Asian multilingual assistance)

1-844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) (Arabic)

Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits


Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

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