ABOVE: Learn about five key points in the elections overhaul law in North Carolina. (enlarge)
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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.
Same-day registration was a process that permitted voters to register to vote and cast a ballot during the early voting period. NOTE: As of 2014, same-day registration is no longer available in North Carolina, due to a law passed in 2013. As such, all voters must be registered no later than 25 days before the date of an election in order to be eligible to vote.
A law in place from 2010 until September 2013 permitted 16- and 17-year-old North Carolinians to "pre-register" to vote, allowing their names to be automatically added to the list of active voters when they turned 18.
NOTE: Due to a new law, the pre-registration program ended on Sep. 1, 2013. However, teens who pre-registered prior to Sept. 1, 2013, are still pre-registered and will have their names automatically added to the list of active voters when they turn 18.
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.
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, runs during a 10-day period prior to an election (this period was reduced from 17 to 10 days under a law passed in 2013). 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.Find an early voting site in your county.
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.
NOTE: A new law will require North Carolina voters to show a photo ID when voting in person, beginning in 2016. Learn more about the new voter ID law.
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.
To learn about this year's candidates, visit the N.C. Voter Guide.
If your question was not answered here please contact the N.C. Center for Voter Education by phone (toll-free) at 1-877-258-6837 or online.