OurCount is a movement to make sure every Black person counts, every Black community counts, and every Black vote counts. If you’re a North Carolina voter, read on to learn more about how to protect your ability to vote safely in the upcoming election.
Voting from home is a safe and convenient way to cast a ballot, which is why more than 490,000 North Carolinians have already voted by mail in this year’s general election. While new safety measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 means voting by mail is a little different this time around, changes in the voting process don’t have to trip us up. Here’s what you need to know to vote safely, securely, and early in this election.
- Any registered voter in North Carolina can request an absentee ballot without an excuse. Requests for absentee ballots must be made by October 27, however, given the high volume of requests, make sure to request your ballot as soon as possible. You can request your ballot online, or by submitting a request form to your local board of elections office via email, fax, mail or in person.
- Make sure to carefully read all instructions for completing and witnessing absentee ballots. Ballots can be rejected for missing a voter signature, missing witness information, or being returned too late to be postmarked by the deadline.
- Fill out your absentee ballot in the presence of only one witness. Your witness does not need to be a notary. Anyone who is 18 years of age or older can serve as your witness.
- This part’s especially important: in order for your vote to count, you must seal your ballot in the return envelope, sign the outside, and have your witness fully complete and sign the witness certification.
- After confirming that your ballot has been properly completed and certified, return the absentee ballot by mail as soon as possible. Your ballot must be postmarked by Nov. 3 or earlier.
- Voted absentee ballots can also be dropped off in person at an early voting site, or at your county board of elections office on election day. Only you or a near relative or legal guardian may return your absentee ballot to election officials.
- Make sure to track your ballot through the mail system to confirm its delivery, and contact your local board of elections if you have any questions about your ballot’s status.
If you decide to vote in-person, keep in mind:
- You can avoid long lines and crowds by voting early in person at your county’s One-Stop Voting Site. The early voting period runs from October 15 through October 31.
- On Election Day, November 3, 2020, polls will be open from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM. Check your county’s website to find your local polling precinct.
- To reduce your chances of catching or spreading COVID-19, it’s a good idea to wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth, carry your own pen in case you need to sign in or sign anything, and carry hand sanitizer to use after you leave your polling place.