RALEIGH — The State Board of Elections advises that students at colleges and universities who choose to vote by mail should request that their ballot be sent to an address where they know they will receive it amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to ensure all eligible voters have the information they need to successfully cast their ballot in this important election during these unique times,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections.
If students are temporarily living away or displaced from the residence where they are registered to vote and they intend to return later, then those students are not considered to have lost their place of residence, according to the State Board of Elections. That address can remain as the residential address for voting.
If a student is registered to vote at a college campus address and they have not requested an absentee ballot, they may request a ballot at tinyurl.com/NCAbsenteeBallotRequestForm and have it sent to a chosen address.
“This is the best option for students who are registered to vote at their campus address and know they will be leaving their campus address for the remainder of the semester,” stated the State Board of Elections.
If a college student is registered to vote at their campus address and they unsure they are leaving campus, the State Board of Elections advises that the student waits until they know their housing situation before requesting a ballot.
Students who have already requested a ballot but must leave campus due to COVID-19 or for any other reason may submit a new request to have their ballot sent to a different address. The first request will not be fulfilled, according to the state board. Students or others who submit a new form can make a note on the new form, such as “updated” or “changed” to alert county elections workers that it is an updated request. They can also email or contact their county board office to ensure the ballot is sent to the updated address.
However, if a student has abandoned a place of residence and intends to stay at a new address indefinitely, then the student should register at the new residential address.
If the student will be away from their residential or mailing address, the State Board of Elections stated to be sure to include the address where the student wants the ballot to be sent on the absentee ballot request. If the student has moved within their county, they may use the request form to update a residential address and/or mailing address.
An online absentee ballot request portal was made available on Sept. 1 on the state board’s website at NCSBE.gov. This will allow all registered voters to request a ballot online. County boards of elections began sending ballots to voters who request them starting Sept. 4.
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. As always, all voters may vote in person during the early voting period (Oct. 15-3) or on Election Day (Nov. 3).
To register to vote, complete a North Carolina Voter Registration Application at tinyurl.com/NCVoterRegistrationApplication. Existing N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ customers may use the online DMV service to register to vote or update their registration at tinyurl.com/DMVvoterregistration. The regular voter registration deadline is Oct. 9. If a resident misses that deadline, they can register and vote at the same time in person during early voting.