So You Forgot to Register to Vote? You Can Still Do It During NC’s Early Voting Period.

Former President Barack Obama, left, and former first lady Michelle Obama cast their ballots at an early voting venue in Chicago on Oct. 17. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By Michael McElroy

October 19, 2022

While the registration process during this period is not quite as easy as registering online, it’s still straightforward.

OK, let’s say you missed the deadline to register to vote online last week in North Carolina. Does that mean you don’t get to participate in perhaps the biggest election in recent history?

It does not. 

North Carolinians can still register in person during the Early Voting period, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5. So the window is still open, but it won’t be open for long. And this is now the only way to register.

While the registration process during this period is not quite as easy as registering online, it’s still pretty straightforward, and it offers the added benefit of being able to register and vote on the same day. (Though you do not have to vote the day you register, if you don’t want to.)

Here’s what you need to know. 


In-person early voting begins on Thursday Oct. 20 and ends at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. After that, you will no longer be able to vote unless you’re already registered. 

To check if you are eligible, click here at the North Carolina Board of Elections (NCBOE).

If you are unsure whether you’re registered, the NCBOE can help you with that, too. 


The early voting period is limited to specific sites in each county, and though you must use one of the sites in your county, you can use any of them. You do not need to use the polling place you would be assigned on Election Day itself.

You must also have lived in your county for at least 30 days before Election Day, which is Nov. 8. So as long as you moved to your new county on or before Oct. 8, 2022,  you’re golden.

Each site may have its own schedule, so to find the early voting sites in your county and the specific times they’ll be open each day, check here

You should be able to find one near you. In Wake County, for example, North Carolina’s most populous county, there are 15 early voting sites. In Tyrrell County, the least populous, there is one. 


In order to register at the early voting sites, you must sign the application, available in English and Spanish, and show identification that has your name and current address.

To do so, you may show one of the following as long as they include your name and current address:

  • Valid and up to date NC Driver’s License. (Note: While you need an ID to register, those who have already registered DO NOT need to show an ID to vote.)
  • Any government-issued photo ID.
  • A copy of a recent utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.
  • A current college/university photo identification card paired with proof of campus habitation. 

 During this period, you may also update your name or address as long as you didn’t move out of the county. 

After you register and vote, the NC BOE will check to make sure everything is accurate and check for duplicate registrations. In a few days, if all checks out, elections officials will update the voter registration database and record your ballot.


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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