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N.C. State Board of Elections Offers Guidance for Students Voting by Mail

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, students at colleges and universities who choose to vote by mail should request that their ballot be sent to an address where they know they will receive it.

“We want to ensure all eligible voters have the information they need to successfully cast their ballot in this important election during these unique times,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections.

If you are temporarily living away or displaced from the residence where you are registered to vote and you intend to return later, then you are not considered to have lost your place of residence. It can remain your residential address for voting.

If you are registered to vote at your campus address and have not requested an absentee ballot, you may request a ballot (North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Form) and have it sent to an address of your choosing. This is the best option for students who are registered to vote at their campus address and know they will be leaving their campus address for the remainder of the semester.

If you are registered to vote at your campus address and unsure if you are leaving campus, please wait until you know your housing situation before requesting a ballot.

Students who have already requested a ballot but must leave campus due to COVID-19 or for any other reason may submit a new request to have their ballot sent to a different address. The first request will not be fulfilled. Students or others who submit a new form can make a note on the new form, such as “Updated” or “Changed” to alert county elections workers that it is an updated request. They can also email or contact their county board office to ensure the ballot is sent to the updated address.

However, if you have abandoned your place of residence and intend to stay at your new address indefinitely, then you should register at your new residential address.

If you will be away from your residential or mailing address, be sure to include the address where you want your ballot to be sent on your absentee ballot request. If you have moved within your county, you may use the request form to update your residential address and/or mailing address.

By September 1, an online absentee ballot request portal will be available on the State Board’s website, NCSBE.gov. This will allow all registered voters to request a ballot online. Beginning September 4, county boards of elections will begin to send ballots to voters who request them.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 27, 2020. However, elections officials strongly encourage voters to request a ballot before then to ensure absentee ballot return deadlines can be met.

As always, all voters may vote in person during the early voting period, October 15-31, or on Election Day – November 3, 2020.

To register to vote, please complete a North Carolina Voter Registration Application. Existing N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ customers may use the online DMV service to register to vote or update their registration. The regular voter registration deadline is October 9. If you miss that deadline, you may register and vote at the same time in person during early voting.