NC is ready for a flood of absentee ballots, state officials say. (Image via Shutterstock) Voting During the Coronavirus
NC is ready for a flood of absentee ballots, state officials say. (Image via Shutterstock)

Officials are emphasizing new online registration and mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Want to do your civic duty and still quarantine? 

A new partnership between the NC Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the State Board of Elections allows North Carolinians to register to vote online now for the first time. 

“We have no way of knowing what will happen this year due to COVID-19,” says Beverly Hill, secretary of the Yancey County Democratic Party in western NC. “Online registration and absentee ballots eliminate any guesswork from the process.”

Officials like Hill are trying to get the word out about the online registration process, with this fall’s pivotal election upended by the deadly coronavirus.

Registering to vote online takes only a few minutes. Here’s how: 

  1. Once you’ve accessed the registration page, simply click on “continue” to access the “submit voter registration application.” Voters can choose to continue with options such as email and Facebook or can simply sign in as a guest.
  2. A valid North Carolina driver’s license or DMV-issued ID card are required, along with a Social Security Number and date of birth. 
  3. Prospective voters without a license or I.D. card can download a voter registration application and submit it to the State Board of Elections (SBOE). If you receive a response that your information is not recognized, try again. Glitches happen.

It’s important to note you can’t make a name change online. To do this, you must download the application and submit your name change to the SBOE. Be sure to check the address on file. Since the information has been generated by the DMV, it may not account for a recent move. 

Requirements are minimal:

  1. You must attest to the fact you are a citizen who will be at least 18 years of age by the next election. 
  2. You must be a resident in your county for 30 days prior to the election. 
  3. If convicted of a felony, you must have completed your sentence and any post-release obligations.

“This is a great year for parents to talk to their children about the privilege and responsibility of voting,” Hill says. “Teenagers can register when they’re 16 with the understanding they must be 18 to vote.” 

Once you’ve completed the application, you can download it to ensure its accuracy. If you note an error, simply contact your county’s board of elections

For voters who would like to complete a request for an absentee ballot completely online, the official North Carolina SBOE website will be ready by September 1. Any registered voter can obtain an absentee mail-in ballot. 

Prior to September 1, voters can print the necessary form and submit it to their county board of elections

Voter assistance is readily available. Near relatives and legal guardians, are, by law, able to help disabled voters with their ballots. 

If a relative or guardian isn’t available, individual county board of elections can offer support. 

Other questions on where and how to vote can be answered by calling or texting 888-OUR-VOTE.