Voting in North Carolina

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North Carolina permits no-excuse early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. The state does not, however, permit online voter registration.

For full information about voting in North Carolina, contact the state election agency.


To vote in North Carolina, you must meet the following requirements:[1]

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must be a resident of North Carolina.
  • Prior to voting, must be a resident of the county for at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
  • Must be at least 18 years old or will be 18 by the date of the next general election.
  • Must rescind any previous registration in another county or state.
  • If previously convicted of a felony, the person’s citizenship rights must be restored (must not be serving an active sentence, including probation or parole).[2]

—North Carolina State Board of Elections

When and where

The deadline to register to vote is 25 days before Election Day. Registration forms can be printed from the state website and are also available at county election board offices, public libraries, high schools and college admissions offices. Voter registration services are also provided by the following agencies:[1]

  • North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
  • 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)[2]

—North Carolina State Board of Elections

Online registration

See also: Online voter registration in the 50 states

As of April 2015, North Carolina is one of 30 states that have not implemented full online voter registration.

Voting on Election Day

Voter identification

See also: Voter identification laws by state

Beginning in 2016, voters will be asked to present photo identification at the polls.[3]

On July 25, 2013, the North Carolina legislature passed a voter identification law. The law "limits the kind of identification that voters can use at the polls to a North Carolina driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, a military ID, or a U.S. passport."[4][5] Governor Pat McCrory (R) signed the bill into law on August 12, 2013.[6] Parts of the law took effect in 2014, although primary photo identification requirements were not scheduled to take effect until 2016.[6][7] Two lawsuits were filed after the governor signed the bill. These suits alleged that the law discriminated against minority groups.[8] On September 30, 2013, the United States Department of Justice sued the state over the requirements, charging that the law's new limits on voting discriminated against minorities and thus violated the Voting Rights Act.[9][10] Both the state and federal cases were scheduled to go to trial in July 2015.[11] North Carolina was the first state to approve a voter identification law after the United States Supreme Court struck down portions of the federal Voting Rights Act in June 2013.[4]

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

In North Carolina, polling places are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.[12]

Primary voting

North Carolina is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Parties decide who may vote in their respective primaries. Voters may choose a primary ballot without impacting their unaffiliated status.[13]

Absentee voting

See also: Absentee voting


All voters are eligible to vote absentee in North Carolina. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee.[14]


A request to vote absentee must be received by the appropriate county board of elections no later than 5 p.m. on the last Tuesday before the election. The completed ballot must be received by the elections office by 5 p.m. on the day before the election.[14]

Military and overseas voting

For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Early voting

See also: Early voting

North Carolina is one of 33 states (plus the District of Columbia) that permit some form of early voting. Early voting begins on the third Thursday before Election Day and ends on the Saturday prior to the election.[15]

Election policy ballot measures

Voting on
elections and campaigns
Ballot measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
See also: Elections and campaigns on the ballot and List of North Carolina ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked the following ballot measures relating to election and campaign policy in North Carolina.

  1. North Carolina No Convicted Felons for Sheriff Amendment (2010)

Recent news

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Voting in North Carolina - Google News Feed

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See also

Elections in North Carolina

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Voter Information," accessed June 10, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Voter ID Requirements in NC," accessed June 10, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Politic 365, "Strict North Carolina voter ID law passes, DOJ could review law," July 28, 2013
  5. The Huffington Post, "North Carolina Voter ID Opponents React To Bill's Passage, Vow To Continue To Fight," April 25, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Washington Post, "Gov. McCrory quietly signs Republican-backed bill making sweeping changes to NC voting," August 12, 2013
  7. The Washington Post, "The next round of the battle over voting rights has begun," August 14, 2013
  8. CBS News, "N.C. sued soon after voter ID bill signed into law," August 13, 2013
  9. Politico, "Justice Department challenges North Carolina voter ID law," September 30, 2013
  10., "NC to offer no-fee voter ID cards starting Thursday," January 2, 2014
  11., "Judge to take several weeks to rule on NC voter ID challenge," January 30, 2015
  12. North Carolina General Statutes, "163-166.01," accessed January 3, 2014
  13. NC Election Connection, "Who Can Vote in Which Elections?," accessed January 3, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Absentee Voting" accessed January 20, 2015
  15. North Carolina State Board of Elections "Absentee Voting," accessed January 20, 2015