Vote by Mail
No excuse is required to vote by mail in North Carolina.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections is the best source of information for voting by mail. The information on this page is summarised from their Vote by Mail webpage. Their website is a rich source of information, so check it out!
There are three basic steps to voting by mail:
Step 1: Request an absentee ballot.
You can request your ballot online through the state absentee ballot request portal. If you provide an email address, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your request.
If you would rather fill out a paper form, you may return it to your county board of elections by mail, email, or fax, or you may deliver it in person.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 pm, October 27, 2020. Realistically, this is not enough time to receive your ballot by mail and return it time, so don't wait this long! Request your ballot today!
Step 2: Vote your absentee ballot.
Vote your ballot in the presence of one witness who is 18 years or older. The witness needs to see that you are the one voting but does not need to see who you are voting for. Please vote the whole ballot!
If you requested an absentee ballot and later decide that you would rather vote in person, that is allowed as long as you have not already voted and returned your absentee ballot. You do not need to bring your absentee ballot with you to the polls in order to prove that you haven't used it. As long as there is no record of a returned and accepted absentee ballot in the system, you will be allowed to vote in person.
Step 3: Return your ballot to your county board of elections.
Place your completed ballot in the provided ballot return envelope. Complete and sign the ballot return envelope and have your witness print and sign their name and provide their address where indicated. Your ballot return envelope is specific to you - do not use your own envelope to return your ballot. Make sure to seal the envelope.
You can return your ballot by mail or you can hand-deliver it.
If you return your ballot by mail:
Your ballot must be POSTMARKED by November 3rd AND RECEIVED by 5pm on November 6th. Ballots that do not meet both of these criteria will not be counted.
You must put one stamp on the envelope (a $0.55 or forever stamp).
Return your ballot as soon as possible in case there are postal delays or other problems.
If you hand-deliver your ballot:
You can hand-deliver a voted absentee ballot to any open One-Stop Early Voting site in your county. Early voting sites for Durham County can be found here. There is no drop-box, so you must wait in line with people who are voting early in order to submit your ballot this way.
You can also hand-deliver a voted absentee ballot to your county board of elections during business hours. It must be delivered by 5pm on election day, Tuesday, November 3rd.
The Durham County Board of Elections is located at 201 N. Roxboro St in downtown Durham and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm (excluding government holidays). In good weather, they will have a tent set up in the parking lot for receiving absentee ballots from 9 am to 3 pm.
There is no drop-box for absentee ballots, so you must go during business hours. If you can't make it during business hours, returning your ballot to an early voting site might be a better option for you.
Step 4 (optional): Track your absentee ballot and ballot request with BallotTrax.
With BallotTrax you can...
Log in to view the status of your absentee ballot request, including confirmation that the county board has received your request.
Confirm that your ballot has been mailed to you or that your completed ballot has been received and accepted.
Sign up for email, text, and/or voice alerts for status updates.