The State Board of Elections and N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles now offer certain online voter registration services for existing DMV customers


 

If you are a DMV customer with a N.C. driver’s license or DMV-issued ID, you may now register to vote or change certain parts of your registration online

Using this service existing DMV customers may register to vote, update their voter registration address, or update their party affiliation. They may not change their name.

This is a standalone service that does not require the user to complete a DMV transaction (such as duplicate or license renewal) at the same time.

There is no fee for voter registration services. 

Voter registration applications submitted fewer than 25 days before an election will not be processed until after the election. You may still register to vote in person using same-day registration in your county during the early voting period.

 

 

Registering to Vote in North Carolina


To register to vote in North Carolina, a person must meet the qualifications to vote and complete a voter registration application

N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles customers may also register to vote and update their registrations (except name change) here. For more information and a link to the service, see “Online Voter Registration” section.

 

Qualifications to Vote


To register to vote in North Carolina, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Live in the county of his/her registration, and have resided there for at least 30 days prior to the date of the election;
  • Be at least 18 years old, or will be by the date of the general election. 16- and 17-year-olds may preregister to vote.
    • 17-year-olds may vote in a primary election if they will be 18 at the time of the general election; and 
  • Not be serving a sentence for a felony conviction, including probation, parole, or post-release supervision. Once an individual has completed a felony sentence or been pardoned, he/she is eligible to register and vote. No additional documentation is needed. For more information on voting rights for those in the North Carolina criminal justice system, click here.

     

Completing the Voter Registration Form


North Carolina residents may use this form to register to vote or to update their name, address or party affiliation. Mail the signed form to your county board of elections office. Click here to find the mailing address of your county board of elections office. DMV customers may register to vote or update their registrations (except name change) online.

To register to vote or update your current voter registration:

  1. Complete a voter registration form.
  2. Print the form.
  3. Sign the form (ink to paper). You must submit the original form by mail or in-person if you are a new registrant. If you are an existing registrant in the county, you may also fax or email the signed form.
  4. Mail the form to your county board of elections.

Failure to complete a required field will delay the processing of the application. After completion, the application should be mailed to the board of elections office in the county in which the applicant resides.

If the application is complete and the you meet all qualifications to vote, the county board of elections will mail you a voter registration card. This mailing is non-forwardable and also serves to verify your address. If a voter card is returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable, a second mailing will be sent. If the second mailing is returned as undeliverable, the voter registration will be denied.

Voter registration applicants who submit their form before the voter registration deadline for the next election should receive their voter card within two weeks. Applicants should contact their county board of elections if they do not receive their voter card. If an application arrives after the registration deadline, the application will not be processed until after the election.

If you plan to conduct a voter registration drive, please fill out this form to request voter registration applications.

 

Updating or Changing Your Voter Registration


How?

The North Carolina Voter Registration Application may be used to change any voting information, including name, address, and party affiliation. The change notification must be signed, and should be sent to the appropriate county board of elections by the voter registration deadline (25 days before each election). Updates to name, address, and party affiliation must be signed, but can be provided by fax or email. A wet ink (physical) signature is not required.

Division of Motor Vehicles customers may update their voter registration residential or mailing address and party affiliation through the DMV service here. This service does not currently allow voters to change their name.

What if I have moved?

When you move within your county, you should complete an in-county change of address. This can be completed on your voter identification card, by signed letter to your local board of elections, or on the voter registration application.

Division of Motor Vehicles customers may update their voter registration residential or mailing address and party affiliation through DMV here.

If you move during a time close to an election, the following rules apply:

  • If you moved more than 30 days prior to the election, you must update your registration with your new address (or if applicable, register to vote in your new county of residence) no later than 25 days prior to the election, or use same-day registration to update your address. If you don’t update your voter registration by Election Day, you may still vote at your new polling location, as long as your move is within the same county. Since your move was unreported, you may be asked to vote a provisional ballot. You may also vote provisionally at your old polling place but you may not receive a ballot with all the contests you are eligible to vote in. You can also vote at a central transfer precinct; contact your county board of elections for more information about this option.
  • If you have moved fewer than 30 days prior to the election, you must vote in your prior polling place.

It is important that the board of elections is able to contact you by mail to inform you of changes to your polling place and/or voting districts, so be sure to notify the board of any changes to your mailing address, if different from your residential address.

What about other changes?

If you need to make other changes to your voter record (name change, party affiliation change, etc.), you may use a voter registration application, or for changes other than party affiliation, you may use same-day registration at a one-stop early voting site to provide an update to your record. You may not change your party affiliation at a one-stop site.

Division of Motor Vehicles customers may update their voter registration residential or mailing address and party affiliation through the DMV service here. This service does not currently allow voters to change their name.

How will I know the change has been made to my record?

Once you have completed and mailed your changes to your local board of elections, allow two weeks for delivery of your voter registration card. Read the information thoroughly and note any changes or mistakes on the card. A voter registration card is for your use only; you do not need the card in order to vote. You can also check your information on the voter lookup tool.
 

Voter Registration Deadline


The deadline to register to vote in North Carolina is 25 days before the election. The county board of elections must receive your application by this date. If an application is received after the deadline, it will still be timely if it is postmarked on or before the voter registration deadline. Otherwise, the application will not be processed until after the election.

If you register at the DMV or another voter registration agency, your application will be deemed timely if it is received by the agency by 25 days before the election.

 

Same-Day Registration


If you are not registered in a county, you may register to vote during the one-stop early voting period. This process is called “Same-Day Registration.”

Same-day registrants must attest to their eligibility to vote and must provide proof of residence. A voter attests to their eligibility by completing a voter registration application and signing it under penalty of a Class I felony, and must present one of the following documents showing the voter’s current name and current address:

  • North Carolina driver’s license;
  • Other photo identification issued by a government agency. Any government-issued photo identification card is acceptable, as long as the card includes the registrant’s current name and address. Such cards may be expired, but the name and address must be current.
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document showing the voter’s current name and address issued within 3 months of the date it is presented; OR
  • A current college/university photo identification card paired with either (1) any document originating with the educational institution and containing the student’s name and on-campus housing address or facility name; or (2) a current roster prepared by the college/university and transmitted to the county board of elections office, which lists all students residing in campus housing facilities.

A student residing in a campus housing facility may prove his residency by presenting, in either hardcopy or electronic format, any document originating with the educational institution and containing the student’s name and on-campus housing address or facility name (e.g., “Jones Hall”). Acceptable documents may be issued by either public or private educational institutions and include correspondence, invoice, transcript, or a print-out or screen shot from any official registration or housing portal displaying the student’s name and on-campus housing address. Alternatively, the educational institution may voluntarily provide elections officials with a list of all students residing in a particular campus housing facility, which may be referenced in conjunction with a valid student photo identification card presented by the registrant. Any such list must be current at the time of use and must display individual facility information for each on-campus resident to ensure the student is properly registered at the appropriate address. Lists may not be used if they do not differentiate between residents at different campus housing facilities. Educational institutions may omit the names of individuals known to be ineligible based on citizenship status (e.g., exchange students holding student visas). The roster may be used as proof of a student’s on-campus residency only if the registrant presents a valid student photo identification card showing the student’s current name as it appears on the registration roster.

Within two business days of the person’s registration, the county board of elections will verify the registrant’s driver’s license or Social Security number, update the voter registration database, search for possible duplicate registrations, and proceed to verify the registrant’s address by mail. The registrant’s vote will be counted unless the county board of elections determines that he or she is not qualified to vote.
 

Voter Registration and Party Affiliation


Five political parties are recognized in North Carolina: Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian and Republican. Voter registration applicants may choose one of these political parties when completing a voter registration application, or they may choose not to register with a political party. If they do not register with a political party, the voter will be designated as unaffiliated. In a partisan primary, voters affiliated with a political party may only vote their party’s ballot; they may not vote in another party’s primary.

As of 2020, when participating in a primary election, unaffiliated voters may choose the Democratic, Libertarian, Republican or nonpartisan ballot (if available). They may not choose the Constitution Party or Green Party ballots because those parties have not opened their primaries to unaffiliated voters.

In a general election, voters may vote for the candidate(s) of their choice, regardless of party affiliation. Straight-ticket voting (also called straight-party voting) is prohibited in North Carolina.
 

Residency


Your legal voting residence is your place of permanent domicile.

That place shall be considered the residence of a person in which that person's habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever that person is absent, that person has the intention of returning.

Citizens who are homeless may register and vote.

If a person's residence is not a traditional residence associated with real property, then the location of the usual sleeping area for that person is the residence of that person. Residence is broadly construed to provide all persons with the opportunity to register and to vote, including stating a mailing address different from residence address. Voter registration forms provide a space for an applicant to indicate on a map where they usually sleep.

You may continue to vote in your usual North Carolina county if you only temporarily relocate.

A person is not considered to have lost that person's residence if that person leaves home and goes into another state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district of North Carolina, for temporary purposes only, with the intention of returning.

You may not vote in a county if you are only living in that county on a temporary basis.

A person is not considered to have gained a residence in any county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district of North Carolina, into which that person comes for temporary purposes only, without the intention of making that county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district a permanent place of abode.

When you move to a new county or state, you are no longer eligible to vote in your previous county.

If a person moves to another state or county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district within North Carolina, with the intention of making that new state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district a permanent residence, that person is considered to have lost residence in the previous state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district

If you move away and establish a new residence for an indefinite period, you are no longer eligible to vote in your previous county, even if you believe that you may eventually return to your previous residence.

If a person moves to another state or another county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district within North Carolina, with the intention of remaining there an indefinite time and making that state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district the person's place of residence, that person is considered to have lost that person's place of residence in North Carolina, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district from which that person has removed, even though that person may intend to return at some future time.

If you move away, register, and vote in another county or state, you will no longer be eligible to vote in your previous county.

If a person goes into another state, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district, or into the District of Columbia, and while there exercises the right of a citizen by voting in an election, that person is considered to have lost residence in that State, county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district from which that person removed.

College students may register and vote in the county where they are attending college (or in most situations, the college student could also opt to register or remain registered at the address where they lived previous to moving away for college). If a student registers at his or her school address, that registration cancels any previous registration in another county.

If a student intends to make the student's home in the community where the student is physically present for the purpose of attending school while the student is attending school and does not intend to return to the student's former home after graduation, the student may claim the college community as the student's domicile. The student does not have to intend to stay in the college community beyond graduation in order to establish domicile there.

 

Cancel a Voter Registration


To Cancel Your Voter Registration:

Use this form to cancel your voter registration. Upon receipt of the form, the county board of elections will remove you from the county’s list of registered voters.

To Report a Deceased Voter: 

Use this form to notify a county board of elections of the death of a North Carolina registered voter. Upon receipt of the form, the county board of elections will remove the voter from the county’s list of registered voters. This form may only be completed by a near relative or personal representative of the deceased voter’s estate.

 

Voter Registration Drives


 

The decision to conduct a voter registration drive is an important one. Voter registration is fundamental to elections and the democratic process. While efforts to assist qualified citizens in registration is vital, participants must also be sure to remain in compliance with North Carolina law.

Voter registration services may be offered by any individual, group, or organization that desires to conduct a voter registration drive. No special training is required, but organizers and participants should carefully follow the requirements listed below.  

See a list of Do's and Don'ts about voter registration and voter registration drives.
 

Requesting Voter Registration Forms:

  • If you plan to conduct a voter registration drive, please complete a Voter Registration Drive Supplies Request Form.

  • County boards of elections are able to provide voter registration supplies to drive organizers in limited quantities (less than 1,000 blank forms). Drive organizers who desire a larger quantity should request the forms directly from the State Board of Elections.

  • Maintain a log of staff/volunteers to track the assignment and collection of registration forms. Logs should contain name and contact information to include telephone and email address.

Completing Voter Registration Forms: 

* Violations of N.C.G.S. §163-82.6(a) and (b) shall be a class 2 misdemeanor and subject to a fine and imprisonment.

  • The following fields on a voter registration form are required:

  • Citizenship and Age (checkboxes)

  • Full Name

  • Date of Birth

  • Address (need physical address and mailing address, if applicable)

  • Signature

  • A voter may receive assistance upon request, but the voter must sign or make their mark.

  • Do not coerce a person into marking a party affiliation other than what the voter desires.

  • Do not offer a person a voter registration form that has been pre-marked, unless the voter has requested the pre-marking.

  • Do not compensate or be compensated for the number of registration forms collected/submitted. Quota systems in voter registration drives are illegal and subject to a class 2 misdemeanor under N.C.G.S. § 163-274(15).

  • Do not tell voters they must re-register to vote. Refer them to their county board of elections if they have questions about eligibility.

  • Do not sell or attempt to sell a completed voter registration form or condition its delivery upon payment.

  • Do not alter, add notes or complete any section of the form for a voter. Incomplete forms should be given to the county board of elections as is.

Returning Voter Registration Forms:

*Violations of N.C.G.S. § 163-82.6(d) and §163-274(16) shall be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor and subject to a fine and imprisonment.

  • All voter registration forms—complete and incomplete—must be sent to the county board of elections in which the voter resides. Please also return unused forms if they are no longer needed to the county board of elections office or the State Board of Elections.

  • Submit completed voter registration forms within 5 business days of receipt but no later than the 25th day before an election.

  • Do not keep or store completed or partially completed voter registration forms that contain Personal Identifiable Information (PII) unless you are an election official or this information is fully redacted under N.C.G.S. § 163-274(16). This information includes:

    • Registrant’s signature

    • Partial or full Social Security number

    • Date of birth

    • Driver’s license number

    • Identity of the public agency which the registrant registered (N.C.G.S. § 163-82.20)

  • If unable to determine the county board of elections, forms may be mailed to or dropped off at the State Board of Elections.

    Mailing address:

    NC State Board of Elections
    P.O. Box 27255
    Raleigh, NC 27611

     

                              Physical address:

                                                    Dobbs Building

                                                    430 N. Salisbury St, 3rd Floor

                                                    Raleigh, NC 27603

If you have registered at a voter registration drive but have not received your voter card in the mail:

Any applicant who submits a voter registration application at a voter registration drive and does not receive a voter card in the mail within two weeks of submission, should notify their county board of elections or the State Board of Elections immediately.

Voter Registration FAQs


What is the voter registration deadline?

The voter registration deadline is 25 days prior to an election. If you miss the voter registration deadline, you may still register to vote during same-day registration. See [link above] for more information. If you give your signed application to another person or organization to submit on your behalf, be sure the person or organization can commit to timely submitting your application to the proper board of elections.
 

May I fax or email a voter registration form?

If you are registering to vote for the first time in your county of residence: You must mail or deliver the application in-person with your original signature.

If you are changing your name, address or party affiliation within your current county of registration: In addition to mail, you may also fax or email a scanned image of your signed application.

DMV customers may register to vote or update their registrations (except name change) online.
 

May I sign a voter registration application for someone else?

No, only a voter may sign his or her voter registration application. You are not permitted to sign the form for your spouse, child or parent, even if you have power of attorney for the person.
 

I moved, but I forgot to update my voter registration. May I still vote?

Click here for more information about updating your voter registration.
 

If I register as an unaffiliated voter, can I vote in a primary election?

Yes. If you are an unaffiliated voter, you can choose to participate in the Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican party primary, or you may request a non-partisan ballot, if available. You may not participate in the Constitution or Green party primary because these parties have not opened their primaries to unaffiliated voters. You may choose only one party's primary. Participating in a partisan primary will not affect your status as an unaffiliated voter. If you request a non-partisan ballot, you will only vote for those contests that are non-partisan.
 

Are voter registration forms available in other languages?

The voter registration application is available in Spanish.
 

How are ineligible voters removed from the voter registration rolls?

Pursuant to state and federal law, county boards of elections follow a comprehensive list maintenance schedule to remove names of individuals who are no longer eligible to be registered due to death, felony conviction, moving from the county, or change of address.
 

Is a voter registration card required to vote?

No. A voter registration card simply serves to confirm that the voter is registered and to provide specific details such as the voter's polling place. That information can also be found on this website through the Voter Lookup tool. If you would like to receive a replacement card, please contact your county board of elections office and ask that a new card be mailed to you.
 

Who can vote by mail?

Any registered voter can vote absentee by-mail for any reason (for more information, click here). No excuse is required. North Carolina voters who are active-duty military or their dependents, and U.S. citizens who are overseas may vote using other absentee ballot options (for more information about military-overseas absentee voting, click here).
 

Are absentee ballots and provisional ballots only counted when the election contest is tied or the results are close?

No. All ballots are counted in the official election results. Election results that are reported on Election night are not official. These unofficial results will include votes from Election Day, one-stop early voting sites, and mail-in absentee ballots that were received in time to be counted on Election Day. Before the elections office finalizes the official count (through a process called canvass), the county board of elections will add all timely mail-in absentee ballots received on or after Election Day, as well as provisional votes determined to be properly cast.