To register to vote and vote in a North Carolina county, a person must meet the following qualifications:
The deadline to register to vote in North Carolina is 25 days before the date of an election. The voter registration application must be received by the applicant’s county boards of elections by this date. If an application is received after the deadline, the application may still be timely if it was mailed and it is postmarked on or before the voter registration deadline; otherwise, the application will not be processed until after the election. Persons who register at the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles or another voter registration agency will be considered registered as of the date the application is given to the agency. As long as this date is on or before the voter registration deadline, then the application will be deemed timely for an upcoming election.
Some citizens, such as people serving in the military who are away from their permanent home on Election Day, their families, or U.S. citizens who are living abroad, have special voting rights and ways to register to vote. These people have the choice of either requesting a mail-in absentee ballot the same way as other registered voters, or they can apply to register and/or vote through special programs for military and overseas voters as described here.
There are three recognized political parties in North Carolina: Democratic, Republican and Libertarian. Voter registration applicants may choose one of these political parties when completing a voter registration application, or they may choose not to register with a political party affiliation. In this case, the voter’s party affiliation will be designated as Unaffiliated. North Carolina has a semi-closed primary system. In a partisan primary, voters who are affiliated with a political party may only vote the partisan ballot for the party for which they are affiliated; they are closed from voting in another party’s primary. Unaffiliated voters may vote in any one recognized party’s primary. In a General Election, voters may vote for the candidate(s) of their choice, regardless of the candidate(s)' party affiliation. There is no longer straight-party voting in North Carolina. Voters must make a separate selection for each contest separately.