Last updated: Oct 21, 2020

North Carolina


A look at trends related to absentee ballots in North Carolina.

Memo / October 14, 2020
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This report examines North Carolina’s preparations for the November 2020 elections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memo / August 27, 2020
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This memo looks more closely at voting trends in the state's 2020 presidential preference primaries, which are semi-closed, allowing unaffiliated voters to choose the primary in which to vote. In particular, it focuses on the state's voter turnout and the vote modes chosen by voters, and provides a breakdown of unreturned and uncounted mail ballots by age, race, and county.

Memo / July 19, 2020
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Latest Updates

North Carolina Updates and Election News:

10/19/20 - Ballot Curing Process: County board of elections will start notifying voters if their ballots have errors, and inform them of the process to fix or "cure" their ballot. These errors include the voter's signature being in the wrong place or missing the address of the witness. If the ballot is missing a signature, the voter will have to submit a new ballot.

10/14/20 - Litigation Update: A Federal judge ruled that North Carolina ballots must have a witness signature. Without a witness signature, voters must cast an entirely new ballot. However, voters can fix minor problems, such as an incomplete witness address or signature in the wrong place by returning an affidavit. Further, the judge stated they have no authority to alter the deadline to accept absentee ballots, resulting in mail-in ballots being counted until Monday, November 12 as long as they are postmarked by November 3.

10/2/20 - Litigation Update: The NC Board of Elections reached a settlement with a political group that will extend the amount of time a mail-in ballot has to arrive after Election Day from three days to nine. In addition, the Board of Elections will give voters who are missing a witness signature on their ballot an opportunity to correct the mistake after submission, without having to fill out a new ballot. Lastly, county boards are instructed to identify ballot drop stations at all county board offices and early voting locations.

9/12/20 - State Employees as Poll Workers: The State Human Resources Director is now allowing state employees to take paid time off to work as poll workers this November.

9/8/20 - Absentee Ballot Tracker: The NCSBE is implementing a ballot-tracking software on their website for absentee voters. Ballots will have "intelligent mail barcode[s]," which will communicate with voters' mobile devices via BallotTrax services. Voters can also cross-check BallotTrax alerts with the NCSBE's Voter Search Tool.

9/6/20 - Poll Worker Shortage: According to a survey conducted by the North Caroline State Board of Elections last week, "[a]t least a quarter of North Carolina’s counties are struggling to recruit poll workers for the 2020 election." The state is aiming to have 25,000 poll workers on Election Day.

9/3/20 - Poll Worker Shortage: Poll worker shortage prompts North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) to allow people to work the polls in precincts outside of where they live.

State Resources