To register to vote in North Carolina you must be:
- a U.S. citizen
- a resident of North Carolina and your county for 30 days before the election
- at least 18 years old by the next general election and not registered in any other county or state.
If you have been convicted of a felony, you must complete all parts of your sentence (including probation and parole) and then citizenship rights are restored and you may register to vote.
- You may register to vote at DMV offices in North Carolina.
- You can register by mail by filling out the voter registration form and mailing it in to your county board of elections. Download a voter registration form here. You may also contact your county board of elections office to receive a form in the mail.
- Voter registration forms are also available at public libraries and high schools, but these locations do not accept completed forms and they must be filled out and returned to your county board of elections.
- Voters can also register directly at their county board of elections office. Find your county’s office location here.
You may register AND vote in-person during the One-Stop Absentee Voting period. In order to do so, you must:
- Go to a One-Stop Voting Site in your county of residence
- Fill out a voter registration application
- Provide proof of residency with appropriate form of identification with your current name and address
You may then vote ONLY at a One-Stop Voting Site in your county of registration during early voting period and NOT on Election Day.
Acceptable forms of identification include:
- N.C. driver’s license
- utility bill with name and address (phone, gas, electric, cable and/or water are acceptable)
- bank statement; paycheck or pay stub from employer
- student photo ID with a document from the school showing the student’s name and current address
- government-issued document (passport, military ID, property or tax bill, auto registration, birth certificate, hunting license)
If you are at least 16 years of age but will not be 18 by the next election and you are otherwise qualified to register, you may preregister to vote. Preregistration allows you to become automatically registered upon reaching the age of eligibility.
The deadline to register to vote in North Carolina is 25 days before Election Day. Registration forms that are received by the county board of elections office or postmarked by the deadline are accepted as valid applications for the upcoming election. If you miss the deadline you may register and vote in person during the One-Stop Absentee Voting period (see same-day registration).
To update your name, address or party affiliation you can fill out a voter registration form or complete the form on your voter registration card and mail it in to your county board of elections office. If you move to a new county you will have to complete a new voter registration form instead of updating your current voter registration card.
If you have moved more than 30 days prior to the election you will need to be registered and may only vote at your new polling place. If you have moved fewer than 30 days prior to the election, you are still qualified to vote in your prior polling place and may vote only there.
When you register to vote in North Carolina you may choose to register as a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian, which are currently the only political parties officially recognized by the state. If you do not wish to register with one of those three political parties you may register as unaffiliated.
Unaffiliated voters can vote in either the Democratic, Republican or Libertarian primary election.
Your polling place and address is listed on your voter registration card issued by your county board of elections.
You may also find your polling place online through the state Board of Elections.
Early voting, or One-Stop Absentee Voting, begins the third Thursday before the election and ends the Saturday prior to the election. Any registered voter may vote in person during this time at their county board of elections office. In addition, some counties set up additional voting sites during the early voting period.
Polls are open on Election Day from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. in North Carolina. If you are standing in line at 7:30 p.m. when the polls close you will be allowed to vote.
You do not need any identification to vote on Election Day. If you are using same-day registration you will need a form of identification to verify your name and address. (View a list of acceptable forms of identification for same-day registration.)
You may request a mail-in absentee ballot from your county board of elections no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last Tuesday before the election. Your absentee ballot must be returned to the county Board of Election by 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election.
For more information, contact your county board of elections office.