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Absentee ballot request portal now open for 2024 Presidential Primary

Any registered and eligible North Carolina voter may now request an absentee ballot for the 2024 primary election online through the N.C. Absentee Ballot Portal.

The absentee ballot portal is the simplest, most efficient, and most accessible way to request an absentee ballot in North Carolina.

Absentee-by-mail voters may also mail or drop off a paper request form for an absentee ballot to their county board of elections. See 2024 N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form in English (PDF).

The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the March 5 primary is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, one week before Primary Election Day.

County boards of elections will begin mailing ballots to voters who have requested them on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, and will continue mailing ballots to other voters upon request throughout the voting period.

State and county elections officials are preparing ballots now. Once they are finalized, sample ballots will be available through the absentee portal and through the State Board’s Voter Search tool.

The State Board encourages absentee voters to make their request early to allow for sufficient time for the ballot packet to be delivered by mail and for their voted ballot to be returned by the deadline at 7:30 p.m. March 5.

To request a ballot through the portal, voters must verify their identity by providing their full name, date of birth, address, and either their driver’s license number (or other DMV ID number) or last four digits of their Social Security number. Voters will sign and submit the form online. If a voter provides their email address, they will receive a confirmation email after the request is submitted through the portal.

“The absentee ballot portal has helped hundreds of thousands of voters securely request their absentee ballots since we launched it in 2020,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We encourage voters to educate themselves about new laws pertaining to absentee voting, including the photo ID requirement and the new Election Day deadline to return your ballot.”

[Members of the press: Please email patrick.gannon@ncsbe.gov for interview requests.]

New Absentee Voting Laws
Voters who vote by mail now must include a photocopy of an acceptable ID when returning their ballot, or they may complete an ID Exception Form, which is included in their absentee materials. The voter places the photocopy of ID or ID Exception Form in a pocket on the outside of the ballot container envelope, which is then placed in an outer return envelope to protect the privacy of the voter. The copy of the photo ID does not have to be in color, but it must be readable.

For more information on photo ID requirements, please see Voter ID.

Also, the absentee ballot return deadline is now 7:30 p.m. Election Day, under Session Law 2023-140. Previously, ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the county board of elections within three days after Election Day were counted.

“This new deadline makes it even more important for absentee voters to request their ballot and ensure they get it back to their county board of elections before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day,” Brinson Bell said.

For Military, Overseas, Blind and Visually Impaired Voters
Blind and visually impaired registered voters in North Carolina can request, complete, and return an accessible absentee ballot online through a system that is compatible with screen readers and that allows for a digital or typed signature. Find detailed instructions at Accessible Absentee Voting.

Military voters and citizens living abroad may use the portal to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), a process allowed by federal law which serves as a voter registration application and an absentee ballot request form. These voters may also use the portal to return their ballot, once it is available. The request deadline for military and overseas voters is 5 p.m. March 4. For more information, see Military and Overseas Voting.

For an overview of North Carolina’s primary and general elections in 2024, visit Upcoming Election. For an overview of absentee-by-mail voting, see Vote By Mail. Also see Detailed Instructions to Vote By Mail.

What Is a Primary Election?
In a primary election, voters select which candidates will appear on the ballot for a given political party in the general election in November. Voters registered with one of the recognized political parties (Democratic, Green, Libertarian, No Labels, or Republican) may only cast a ballot in that party’s primary election. The Green Party and No Labels Party do not have North Carolina primaries in 2024.

For the 2024 primary, unaffiliated voters may request a Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican ballot, or a nonpartisan ballot, if available.

Important note: If a voter wants to change their party affiliation to vote in a primary, they must do so by the voter registration deadline, which is 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.

What if I request an absentee ballot, then decide to vote in person instead?
If you request an absentee-by-mail ballot and choose not to vote the ballot, you may still vote in person at an early voting site or on Election Day.

If you vote in person, you should discard your absentee ballot. As soon as you vote, your absentee ballot will not be counted, even if returned. It is against the law to vote twice in any election.

2024 Primary Dates and Deadlines
Here are key dates and deadlines for the 2024 primary election in North Carolina:

Jan. 19, 2024: County boards of elections begin mailing absentee ballots to eligible voters who have submitted an absentee ballot request form.
Feb. 9, 2024: Voter registration deadline (5 p.m.).*
Feb. 15, 2024: In-person early voting begins, with same-day voter registration available.
Feb. 27, 2024: Absentee ballot request deadline (5 p.m.).*
March 2, 2024: In-person early voting ends (3 p.m.).
March 5, 2024: Primary Election Day.
March 5, 2024: Absentee ballot return deadline (7:30 p.m.).*
March 15, 2024: County boards of elections primary canvass meetings (11 a.m.)
March 26, 2024: State Board of Elections primary canvass meeting (11 a.m.)
*Voter registration and absentee voting deadlines are different for military and overseas citizen voters.

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