NC State Board of Elections

RALEIGH — North Carolina voters can request an absentee ballot completely online effective Sept. 1, which the North Carolina State Board of Elections states is another way election officials are improving the voting process in 2020.

“At the state board, our goal is to ensure all voters can cast a ballot, whether in person or by mail,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “The Absentee Ballot Request Portal will streamline voting by mail for voters who choose this voting option.”

The state board stated that it has collaborated with Democracy Live to introduce the online Absentee Ballot Request Portal to assist any North Carolina registered voter in requesting an absentee ballot. The State Board website at NCSBE.gov includes a link to the portal. The portal also allows military and overseas voters (UOCAVA) to request and return their absentee ballot online.

Military and overseas voters may use the portal to complete a Federal Post Card Application, which serves as a voter registration application and an absentee ballot request form. UOCAVA voters with an eligible request on file may access and return their ballot using the secure UOCAVA portal. Only UOCAVA voters may receive and return their ballot through the portal.

According to the state board, the Absentee Ballot Request Portal:

  • Allows registered North Carolina voters to securely request an absentee by-mail ballot completely online. The request may be made by the voter or their near relative or legal guardian. The voter’s county board of elections will mail the ballot to the voter.
  • Helps avoid duplicate requests by informing voters of existing absentee requests, and allows users to submit subsequent requests to update information on a previously submitted request.
  • Allows military or overseas voters to request and return their ballots through the portal.

Voters who are not registered will be provided a link to learn more about how to register in North Carolina.

To request a ballot through the portal, voters must verify their identity by providing their first and last names, date of birth, county of registration and additional personally identifying information for verification purposes. Voters will sign and submit the form online. If a voter provides their email address, they will receive a confirmation email after the request is submitted through the portal.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 27. However, elections officials strongly encourage voters to request a ballot before then to ensure absentee ballot return deadlines can be met.

County boards of elections started sending absentee ballots to voters who request them on Sept. 4. If a registered voter has already requested a ballot but has not received it by Sept. 15-20, they are advised to contact their county board of elections office.

“We encourage voters to be patient, as county boards of elections are processing an unprecedented number of absentee ballot requests this year,” Brinson Bell said.

Through Aug. 31, voters had submitted more than 560,000 absentee ballot requests — 16 times more requests than county boards of elections had received by this time in 2016.

For more information about voting by mail in North Carolina, visit www.ncsbe.gov/voting/vote-mail or www.ncsbe.gov/voting/vote-mail/faqs-voting-mail-north-carolina-2020.

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