The 2020 primaries have begun. Here’s how to vote in North Carolina

The 2020 primary elections are starting in North Carolina, with mail-in ballots now available for people who choose to use absentee voting.

In-person early voting won’t begin until Feb. 13, though, and Election Day isn’t until March 3, 2020. So undecided voters still have time to make up their minds.

With upcoming deadlines and ever-changing rules on voter ID, it can be hard to keep all the rules straight. So here are some key dates and facts to know whether you’re trying to vote for the first time or the 20th time.

Registering to vote in North Carolina: 

In order to register to vote in North Carolina, a person must meet the legal qualifications to vote and complete a voter registration application. When completing the application, applicants must provide: their full name, residential address, date of birth, and citizenship status.

In addition, the application must be signed pen to paper (Electronic signatures do not count). Failure to complete a required field on the form 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. You can find the address of your county board of elections office by clicking here.

Qualifications to vote: 

To register to vote in North Carolina, a prospective voter must meet all of the following qualifications:

  • Must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Must live in the county of his/her registration, and have resided there for at least 30 days prior to the date of the election.
  • Must be at least 18-years-old. A prospective voter can submit a registration form up to two years before his/her 18th birthday, if and only if he/she will be 18 at the time of the next general election.
  • 17 year-olds may vote in a primary election if they will be 18 at the time of the general election. 
  • Must not be serving a sentence for a felony conviction (including probation or parole). If a prospective voter has previously been convicted of a felony, his/her citizenship rights must be restored. For more information on voting rights for those in the North Carolina criminal justice system, click here.

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.

  • In the event that a person's residence is not a traditional residence associated with real property, then the location of the usual sleeping area for that person shall be controlling as to the residency of that person. Residence shall be 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 visually map where they usually sleep.

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

  • A person shall not be 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.

For more information on qualifications, please click here