NC Election Board on how to vote absentee

By on August 12, 2020


Ballot requests in 2020 seven times higher than in 2016

State Board of Elections

With more people expected to vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Carolina Board of Elections reported earlier this week that that through Sunday, Aug. 9, North Carolina voters had thus far submitted 163,374 requests for absentee by-mail ballots for the 2020 general election. That’s more than seven times as many as the 22,074 requests submitted by this the same time in 2016.

Here are some ABC’s about absentee by-mail voting.

Requesting a ballot:

Any registered voter in North Carolina may vote an absentee ballot by mail. The deadline to request a ballot for the November election is 5 p.m. October 27, 2020. Ballots will start being sent to voters who request them on September 4.

To request an absentee ballot, fill out a 2020 State Absentee Ballot Request Form, available for download at, or pick one up at your county board of elections office. The request form comes with detailed instructions and is available in Spanish.

Return the completed form to your county board of electionsby fax, email, mail, or in person. Starting September 1, 2020, voters will also be able to request a ballot using an online portal.

Completing the ballot:

For the 2020 general election, only one witness is required for an absentee ballot. The voter is required to mark the ballot in the presence of the witness. The witness should not observe so closely that they can see how the voter votes.

Any registered voter may request assistance from a Multipartisan Assistance Team (MAT). A MAT is a group appointed by a county board of elections to assist voters with mail-in absentee voting. To schedule a MAT visit, contact your county board of elections.

Returning the ballot:

For civilian absentee voters, the container-return envelope with the voted ballot enclosed must be returned to the county board of elections by 5 p.m. on Election Day. Absentee ballots received after 5 p.m. on Election Day will counted if they are postmarked on or before Election Day and received by mail no later than 5 p.m. November 6, three days after the election.

Absentee by mail voting security:

Numerous safeguards are ingrained in the absentee voting process. Absentee ballots are sent only to registered voters who request themusing an official State Absentee Ballot Request Form.

The request must be signed and include identifying information about the voter, including date of birth and driver’s license number or last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number. Voters must vote their ballot in the presence of a witness, and that witness must sign the absentee return envelope certifying that the voter marked their ballot and is the registered voter submitting the marked ballot.

Only the voter or their near relative or legal guardian may return the ballot. Upon return, the county board of elections reviews the absentee envelope to ensure compliance with the legal requirements. Once the ballot is accepted, that voter is marked in the system as having voted in that election.

Data on who has requested absentee ballots is now confidential until Election Day. Criminal penalties have been increased for absentee voting fraud-related offenses. Many people are watching our absentee voting process, including candidates, political parties, county boards of elections, and political and data scientists. If there are anomalies or questionable activities, they will be reported to election officials.

Finally, the State Board of Elections has an Investigations Division that investigates credible allegations of elections fraud and refers cases to prosecutors when warranted by the evidence. The State Board also conducts several post-election audits which will catch inconsistencies that can then be investigated by the State Board Investigations Division.


  • Trashcan Man

    Gee, no flaws in this system now are there? Vote by e-mail? Mail-in ballots can be accepted 3 days AFTER the election if postmarked timely. Requests are up 7 times over the 2016 election…..have 7 times the staff and equipment been put in place to handle this increase? We may not know the results for months.
    Add in the USPS to the mix and chaos just doesn’t quite capture the mess we are likely to see. Cast your vote for Kanye West because it won’t matter anyway.

    Wednesday, Aug 12 @ 1:40 pm
  • Dethrol

    The absentee ballot process is a tested and proven method for voting. It is NOT universal mail-in balloting which is easily distinguished by examining the way every tin-pot dictatorship and socialist hellhole conducts “free and fair elections”. The U.S. military has used the absentee system for decades, since most people in the military are not stationed at their home of record or are deployed overseas. It requires certification of registration and is easily cross-checked to ensure that fraud does not occur. No dead people, non-citizens, cats, or dogs receive or cast absentee ballots. There is a record for every ballot requested and sent tied directly to a registered voter. For once, I look forward to the potential for military votes to actually be included in the final outcome. See, although it’s a safe system, that’s been used procedurally for those serving our country, very often these ballots are not counted. The only time they “matter” is when the margin between candidates is less than the number of absentee ballots returned. We also shouldn’t be surprised by the number of absentee ballot requests. With all of the panic inspired by the virus and fomented by the liberals who only want to stuff ballot boxes, many are just finding out what absentee voting is all about. The volume within the USPS isn’t a problem either. They typically handle an increase of more than 800 million packages each and every Christmas season. Staffing for the USPS has remained fairly stable, at least for the last decade or so and they have the ability and procedures in place to add extra staff, if necessary.

    Thursday, Aug 13 @ 11:19 am
  • Corolla Resident

    “Completing the ballot:
    For the 2020 general election, only one witness is required for an absentee ballot. The voter is required to mark the ballot in the presence of the witness. The witness should not observe so closely that they can see how the voter votes.”
    Now, THAT’s funny!

    Thursday, Aug 13 @ 12:05 pm
  • Trashcan Man

    Hey Dethrol, you may want to get yourself up to date on the USPS. USPS has taken 19 sorting machines out of service. These sorters process 35,000 pieces of mail every hour, 24/7. Overtime has been cut. Mail is being left on the docks and floors of mail centers.
    Then get yourself up to date on pending lawsuits. PA is an interesting situation. NJ recently conducted an all mail-in election and 10% of ballots were rejected for various reasons.

    Friday, Aug 14 @ 9:17 am
  • Dethrol

    Trash… Reading is fundamental. I addressed the efficacy of absentee voting. My comment could not have clearer that mail-in voting is a breeding ground for fraud and corruption, just look at the states where they are trying to make it happen, liberal much? As far as the USPS is concerned, it can handle absentee ballot requirements. Have you failed to receive any political ad mailers, home refinance offers, or legitimate bills from the USPS? Didn’t think so.

    Friday, Aug 14 @ 4:01 pm
  • sandflea

    Hey conspiracy theorists….. voter fraud is about 0.000006%. Thats essentially non existent. The last voter fraud was by REPUBLICANS for a congressional seat right here in North Carolina. Trump/Trumpublicans aren’t running on any platform whatsoever. The only thing they are doing is trashing their opponent and actually rigging the system. Their voter suppression machine is working overtime. If you can’t beat ’em, cheat ’em. Btw, 0.000006% for 170,000,000 votes is about 2 people.

    Sunday, Aug 16 @ 12:02 pm
  • Dethrol

    I guess everything depends on where you get your numbers and what they actually mean. Since the U.S. system of Government and representation is not based on popular vote, I think I can see some bias peeking out from under a tin foil hat, myself. At least four jurisdictions have identified invalid mail-in ballots including 500,000 in Virginia, And several thousand each in New Jersey, New York, California, and Nevada. When elections are decided by margins of dozens to a few hundred (in local districts), and by a few thousand on a statewide basis, ANY funny business with ballots that results in even one bogus vote is important. The potential swing in the U.S. House and Senate hangs in the balance. The problem is solved immediately by in-person voting or use of the absentee system. Anyone who advocates for anything else is simply co-signing the BS.

    Monday, Aug 17 @ 10:17 am