Voter Information



State Board Updates Voter Registration Applications with New Language About Individuals Convicted of Felonies


Raleigh, N.C. — The State Board of Elections has updated the state's voter registration applications to comply with Friday’s N.C. Supreme Court ruling regarding the voting rights of individuals convicted of felonies. The court ruled that North Carolinians convicted of felonies must complete their sentences—including any period of probation, post-release supervision, or parole—before they regain their right to vote.

The State Board is urging all county boards of elections and all groups that conduct voter registration drives to print and use the new forms immediately to ensure that no ineligible individual registers to vote.

For county boards of elections and voters:

For groups conducting voter registration drives:

The State Board is working with its printing vendor to print copies of the new voter registration applications to be sent to the county boards of elections, government agencies that provide voter registration services, and third-party organizations that conduct registration drives.

“The State Board is committed to ensuring that all laws and court orders are followed and to provide copies of the new forms as quickly as possible to everyone who needs them,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “In the meantime, copies of the new voter registration applications are available on the State Board’s website for printing." 

Friday’s N.C. Supreme Court ruling means any individual convicted of a felony cannot register or vote until their sentence is complete, including any periods of probation, post-release supervision, or parole. A lower court had ruled in an earlier stage of the case that anyone who was not in prison or jail for a felony conviction could register to vote and vote, provided they were otherwise eligible. Today’s decision reverses that lower-court ruling.

As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, the State Board will receive lists of people currently serving felony sentences from the N.C. Department of Adult Correction and U.S. Department of Justice and forward them to the county boards of elections to cancel the registrations of anyone who is now ineligible. 

As always, existing NCDMV customers may submit a voter registration application online. Learn more at Complete Your Registration Online Through the DMV. The State Board also will work with the DMV to update the language on the online application to comply with the court order.

State Board Approves Rules Related to Photo ID, Appoints County Board Members Statewide


Raleigh, N.C. — The State Board of Elections on Tuesday unanimously approved temporary rules related to the implementation of the photo ID requirement for voting in North Carolina elections.

Voters will be asked to show photo ID when voting in person and via absentee ballot, starting with this fall’s municipal elections. The agency is proposing rules to ensure uniform, standard implementation of the photo ID requirements in all 3,000-plus polling locations and among all 100 county boards of elections.

One of the approved rules focuses on implementing the ID requirements for in-person voting (08 NCAC 17 .0101), and one focuses on the ID requirements for absentee voting (08 NCAC 17 .0109).

During a public comment period from June 5-23, agency staff received more than 1,300 comments about the proposed rules, and, in some cases, modified language in the rules in response to the comments. 

After the agency submits the adopted rules to the Rules Review Commission, the Commission will determine whether to approve or reject the rules under N.C.G.S. § 150B-21.9.

The Board also unanimously approved a “Photo ID Exception Form” for in-person voters and a “Photo ID Exception Form for Absentee Voting.” Under N.C.G.S. § 163-166.16, the State Board must adopt a reasonable impediment exemption form which must, “at a minimum,” include specific reasons listed in the statute that a voter may select. Any voter who claims an exception to presenting photo ID – due to a reasonable impediment, religious objection to being photographed, or a recent natural disaster – must attest that they are the voter casting the ballot, they are voting a provisional ballot, and they qualify for the exception.

County Board Member Appointments

The State Board also appointed four board members – two Democrats and two Republicans – to each of the 100 county boards of elections. The appointed members are the #1 and #2 nominees for each party in each county in the Party Nominations for County Board Member 2023 spreadsheet.

Their terms will begin when they are sworn in on July 18. County board members serve two-year terms.

“We are happy to welcome new members to North Carolina’s elections team,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board. “Together, we will continue to ensure that our elections are accessible, safe, and secure, and that every eligible vote counts.”

Gov. Roy Cooper will appoint the chair to each county board. 

Declaratory Rulings

The State Board also responded to two requests by the state and national Republican parties to issue declaratory rulings. First, the Board unanimously ruled that state law does not impose a four-hour shift requirement on at-large election observers at polling locations and that any administrative rules or guidance to the contrary should not be enforced.

Second, the Board unanimously confirmed that the deadline extension requirements in N.C.G.S. § 103-5 also apply to receipt deadlines for absentee ballots. The statute states when the last day for doing any act under law falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday when the public office is closed, the act may be performed on the next day that the public office is open. Accordingly, when the absentee ballot receipt deadline falls on Veterans’ Day, a public holiday when the mail does not run, ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the next business day after Veterans’ Day should be counted. 

The following are 10 facts about North Carolina’s photo ID requirement for voting:

  1. Voters will be asked to show photo ID when voting in North Carolina, starting with the 2023 municipal elections. Those elections occur in September, October, and November, depending on the town or city. (Find your local election details at Upcoming Election.)
  2. Most voters will simply show their NC driver’s license, but many other types of photo ID will be accepted. See the list of acceptable IDs at Voter ID.
  3. Voters without ID can get a “No Fee ID Card” from the NCDMV. Soon, voters will also be able to get a free ID from their county board of elections.
  4. The State Board is developing a process for approving student and public employee IDs for voting. Lists will be added to the Voter ID website as soon as IDs are approved.
  5. When a voter checks in to vote at a polling place, they will be asked to show an acceptable photo ID. Election workers check to see if the picture on the ID reasonably resembles the voter. The address on the photo ID does not have to match the voter registration records.
  6. All voters will be allowed to vote with or without a photo ID. If the voter does not show an acceptable ID, the voter may vote with an ID Exception Form and a provisional ballot, or vote with a provisional ballot and return to their county board of elections office with their photo ID by the day before county canvass. (For municipal elections in September and October, this deadline is the Monday following Election Day. For all other elections, the deadline is the second Thursday following Election Day.)
  7. Permitted exceptions to the photo ID requirement include the following: The voter has a reasonable impediment to showing photo ID (lack of transportation, lost or stolen ID, disability or illness, family responsibilities, etc.); the voter has a religious objection to being photographed; or the voter was a victim of a natural disaster within 100 days of Election Day.
  8. When a registered voter cannot produce a photo ID, the county board of elections must count that ballot if the voter properly completes the ID Exception Form or brings an acceptable ID to their county board of elections before the county canvass.
  9. Voters who vote by mail will be asked to include a photocopy of an acceptable ID inside the photo ID envelope that comes with their ballot. If they are unable to include a photocopy of their ID, they may complete an ID Exception Form with the absentee ballot return envelope. Photo ID is not required for military or overseas voters who vote using special absentee voting procedures that federal law makes available for such voters.
  10. For more information, see Voter ID and FAQ: Voter ID. These web pages will be updated frequently with the latest information.


Answers to voter faq's about ballot tabulation









County Boards of Elections Begin Regular Voter List Maintenance Processes



RALEIGH, N.C. – In 2021, county boards of elections across North Carolina will conduct several important and required processes designed to keep the state’s voter rolls accurate and up to date.


These routine processes are required by state and federal laws. Accurate voter rolls are maintained by removing voters who have moved or died or are otherwise ineligible to vote in that jurisdiction.


Voter roll list maintenance is important because it ensures ineligible voters are not included on poll books, reduces the possibility for poll worker error and decreases opportunities for fraud.


As a result of these processes, the number of North Carolina voter registrations will decrease in the coming months. As of January 9, nearly 7.2 million voters were registered in the state.


[See Voter Registration Statistics]


[See “Maintaining the Voter Registration Database in North Carolina.” Updated July 27, 2017]


“The removal of voters who have moved and are no longer eligible to vote in that jurisdiction is a routine and important aspect of elections administration,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Before any voter’s registration is canceled, the county boards of elections attempt to contact the voter to allow them to confirm or update their registration.”


The following are details about three of the many list maintenance processes the county boards of elections will complete in 2021:


Biennial List Maintenance (No-contact process)


In the early part of every odd-numbered year, if a county board of elections has had no contact with a voter for two federal election cycles – a total of four years – and the voter has not voted during that time, it will send the voter a forwardable address confirmation mailing. The voter will be required to return the confirmation mailing within 30 days.


If the voter does not return the mailing, or the U.S. Postal Service returns it to the county board as undeliverable, then the voter’s record will be marked “inactive” in the state’s voter registration database. Inactive voters are still registered voters. If an inactive voter shows up to vote, the person will be asked to verify their address and update it, if necessary.


County boards will send mailings this year to voters with whom there has been no contact since October 12, 2018. Counties have started printing and mailing these notices, which must go out by April 15. More than 450,000 of these mailings are expected to be sent out statewide in 2021.


The registrations of these voters will be canceled if they do not confirm their registration by 2023.


Removal of Inactive Voters


County boards of elections also have begun to remove certain “inactive” voters from the rolls. Voters will be removed from registration lists this year after being sent a no-contact mailing in 2016. Any voter removed in this way would not have had any contact with their county board of elections for four federal election cycles, not voted in any election during that time and not responded to a confirmation mailing.


The State Board estimates about 380,000 inactive voters will be removed from the voter rolls in 2021.


Any removed registrant must be reinstated if the voter appears to vote and gives oral or written affirmation that the voter has not moved out of the county and has maintained residence continuously within the county. These voters’ votes will be counted absent evidence that they moved out of the county.


Voters may check their registration status at any time using the State Board’s Voter Search Tool:


National Change of Address (NCOA) Mailings


In January and July of each year, the State Board provides the 100 county boards of elections with change of address data from the U.S. Postal Service. County boards must send voters in this dataset postcard mailings to the new address to confirm whether they have an unreported change of address for voting purposes.


These mailings allow voters to update their names or addresses within a county or notify the board of elections of a move outside of that county. The voter is asked to respond to the mailing within 30 days. If the voter does not respond, the voter will be mailed a traditional address confirmation notice to their existing mailing address.


If the voter does not respond to that notice within 30 days, the voter’s registration status will be changed to “inactive.”


If a voter is deceased, a near relative may use the mailing to report the death so the county board can cancel the registration.


Additional List Maintenance Efforts


N.C. elections officials also routinely remove voters who have died from the voter rolls. Death notifications are made available by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. County boards of elections also regularly remove voters who are convicted of felonies, using records from the N.C. Department of Public Safety and U.S. attorneys’ offices.


To learn more about registering to vote in North Carolina, visit:


N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles customers may register or update their registration online here:

Transmitting a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot:

This notice may be used in conjunction with the federal write-in absentee ballot (FWAB). Covered military & overseas voters seeking to vote by absentee ballot may use the FWAB to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and vote an official military-overseas ballot. When using the FWAB to register to vote, and/or request an absentee ballot, please transmit your signed and completed FWAB no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day before Election Day. If submitted later than this day and time, your absentee ballot will not be counted. Federal write-in absentee ballots are available at You may also request a regular absentee ballot by using the federal postcard application (FPCA), available at A regular ballot can be mailed, faxed or emailed to you. You may return the FWAB or a regular absentee ballot by mail, secure fax (1-919-715-0351) or email (


Marking a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot:

When marking a FWAB, for each office for which you wish to vote, write in either a candidate's name or political party designation. For ballot measures or referenda, write either “YES” (you are for the ballot measure or referendum) or “NO” (you are against the ballot measure or referendum). In a primary, if you are registered as Democrat, Republican or Libertarian, for partisan contests, you may only vote for the candidates of the party for which you are affiliated. You are also eligible to vote for non-partisan contests. If you are registered as unaffiliated (“independent”), in a primary, you may choose to vote for the partisan contests of one of the parties or you may choose to vote for non-partisan contests only. Please contact your local board of elections to confirm your party affiliation or voter registration status.

Please check the website for the NC State Board of Elections ( for additional information on military-overseas absentee voting.

Tools to Request and Track Your Absentee Ballot

The State Board has collaborated with Democracy Live to offer registered voters in North Carolina the option to request a ballot online via the Absentee Ballot Request Portal. The agency has also launched BallotTrax, a free service where voters can track the status of their absentee ballot.

Request Your Absentee Ballot Online

In 2020, all registered North Carolina voters, including voters serving in the military or living overseas, can request an absentee ballot online through the Absentee Ballot Request Portal.

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.

Request your absentee ballot online: 

Track Your Absentee Ballot

Absentee by-mail voters in North Carolina can find the status of their ballot in three different ways: through BallotTrax, through the State Board’s Voter Search Tool, and by contacting their county board of elections.

1) BallotTrax 

Voters who vote by mail may use BallotTrax to track the status of their ballot from when it is mailed to when it is received by the county board of elections.

BallotTrax allows NC voters with valid absentee ballot requests to create an account. Once the account is created, voters will be able to:

  • Log in to view the status of their absentee by-mail request and ballot. This includes confirmation that the county board of elections has received the request, that the ballot has been mailed to the voter and that the completed ballot has been received by the county board of elections.
  • Learn if their ballot cannot be accepted because of issues such as a missing signature or witness information. If this occurs, the county board of elections will provide information to the voter on how to correct the issue.
  • Sign up for email, text, and/or voice alerts for status updates.

Voters will see one of several statuses, including Requested, when an absentee request form is received by the County Board of Election, and Accepted, when the returned ballot is accepted by the county board of elections. Accepted generally means the county board of elections has received the ballot, the return envelope has no apparent issues, and the ballot will be counted. If the county board of elections subsequently finds an issue (the envelope is opened and there is no ballot inside, for example) then that status will change and the voter will be contacted. Click here for more information on creating an account in BallotTrax.

Track your absentee ballot:

 Voter Search Tool

When a county board of elections marks a ballot as Accepted, that information will appear in that voter’s record available through the State Board’s Voter Search Tool. Because absentee ballot request information is confidential under state law until the ballot is accepted or until Election Day, absentee request information does not appear in the Voter Search Tool.

View your voting record: