CCSA’s Guide to Voter Registration and Absentee Ballots in the Time of COVID-19

Voter registration takes an average of two minutes or less to complete; however, North Carolina has experienced a decline in new voter registration numbers in 2020. It’s time to change that.

This year, there are even more options to vote safely and correctly. To ensure that everyone is able to vote in November, save and share this graphic to make a successful voting plan.

Registering to vote is one of the most important steps in making a voting plan. The North Carolina voter registration deadline is October 9, so it’s important to register as early as possible. This year, there are three ways to vote: absentee ballots, early voting and day-of-voting. This is significant because no special circumstances are required for absentee ballots this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voting by Mail with Absentee Ballots

Voting by absentee ballot is a viable option for several reasons. Many people have health concerns because of COVID-19. Additionally, there may be fewer voting locations and longer lines at poll locations because N.C. is currently facing a shortage of poll workers. Voting by mail may be the safest and most efficient way to vote this year for many people. 

So, how do you correctly vote by mail with an absentee ballot?

  1. Complete the absentee ballot request form here
  2. Return the request form to your County Board of Elections by the deadline of October 27, 2020 at 5 p.m. Ballots will be mailed out in early September, so it is not too early to request your absentee ballot. Completing this step early is encouraged because the demand for absentee ballots is expected to be high this year. 
  3. Next, you’ll receive the absentee ballot in the mail, which will include the ballot, a return envelope and an instruction sheet. 
  4. Mark your ballot in the presence of one witness, who is at least 18 years old, and fill out all parts of the form, which includes your signature and the signature of one witness. No photo ID is needed to vote by mail. 
  5. Finally, return your ballot (in the provided return envelope) with two stamps postmarked to your County Board of Elections. It is encouraged that you return your ballot two weeks before election day to ensure it is received in time to be counted, but you must postmark your ballot no later than 5 p.m. on Election Day (November 3, 2020)

Learn more about absentee ballots here

In-Person Voter Registration

If you prefer to register to vote in-person, you can still register during the early voting period with Same-Day Registration. For this option, you must show proof of address with a photo ID or a document showing your name and current address such as a bill statement.

You can only register the same day you vote during the early voting period, which is from October 15-31, 2020. This means that you cannot register and vote on the same day on Election Day, which is November 3.

Online Voter Registration

The final option is online voter registration. However, this is only accessible through the DMV website to those with DMV-issued identification. Registering to vote online is quick and easy. Learn more about this option here.

Still need some help with your voter registration? Call the N.C. Election Protection Hotline at 1-888-OUR-VOTE.

Register to Vote for Children and Families

The North Carolina voter registration deadline is October 9. It’s important to begin researching local races and ballot initiatives and encourage your family, friends and coworkers to register to vote as well. North Carolina is a leader in early childhood education (ECE), and your vote affects funding for educational budgets, educator salaries, nutrition in schools and student safety. Our state’s youngest children are depending on us to vote with their best interest in mind.

Child Care Services Association’s (CCSA) mission is to ensure affordable, accessible, high quality child care for all families, which includes supporting the ECE workforce through voting. CCSA is working with Democracy NC to provide important information about checking voter registration, registering to vote, absentee ballots and voting. You can find more resources at www.ncvoter.org.