Absentee ballot request deadline is 5 PM Tuesday

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, workers prepare absentee ballots for mailing at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina issued new guidance Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, to allow counties to deal with more than 10,000 absentee ballots with various deficiencies that have been in limbo due to court battles over the witness requirement for voting by mail. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

RALEIGH – The N.C. State Board of Elections is reminding voters that the deadline to request a ballot by mail in the 2020 general election is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The NCSBE says requests must be received by county boards of election by the deadline. To vote by mail, you must be registered to vote prior to requesting the ballot.

“If you want to vote by mail, please request your ballot now,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “But if you miss the request deadline, you can still vote early in person through October 31 or on Election Day, Nov. 3, at your assigned precinct.”

As of 9:30 a.m. Monday, nearly 780,000 North Carolinians had cast their ballot by mail for the Nov. 3 election, about four times more by-mail voters than 2016.

The NCSBE says the best way to request an absentee ballot by mail is through the State Board’s Absentee Ballot Request Portal: https://votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/home.

Voters may also complete an Absentee Ballot Request Form and email, fax or return the form in-person to their county board of elections. The NCSBE says mailed forms as of today likely will not arrive by the request deadline.

To track the status of a request and mail-in ballot, voters may use BallotTrax: https://votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/home.

Voters who have requested a ballot but decide to vote in person may discard the ballot and vote during early voting or on Election Day. When voting in person, a mail-in ballot will be spoiled and not counted. 

It’s also very important for anyone who wishes to vote by mail to send or deliver their ballot now to ensure it is received in time.

Voters may return a completed mail-in ballot in three ways:

Mail their ballot to their county board of elections. The ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day.

Drop their ballot off at any early voting site in their county. To find early voting sites and hours, use the One-Stop Early Voting Site Search tool.

Drop their ballot off in person at their county board of elections office through 5 p.m. on Election Day.

For more on voting by mail, visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/vote-mail.