Ten things to know as NC Primary Election season begins

Published 3:20 pm Friday, April 1, 2022

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This week, county boards of elections across North Carolina began sending absentee-by-mail ballots to registered voters who requested them for the May 17 primary and certain municipal elections. The following are 10 things to know as the 2022 mid-term primary election approaches.

In the primary election, voters will select nominees for a political party to move on to the November 8 general election. Contests on the ballot include U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, N.C. General Assembly, state and local judges, district attorney, and county offices. In primaries, voters affiliated with a political party will be given a ballot of candidates for their party. Unaffiliated voters may choose the ballot of any party that has a primary. Libertarians do not have any primaries this year. Voters in approximately 30 municipalities across the state, to include Ahoskie, will also go to the polls to elect mayors and city/town council members. These municipal elections occur at the same time and on the same ballot as the primary contests for the general election. To find out if your municipality is conducting an election on May 17, visit the State Board’s Local Voter Tool.

For voters eligible to vote in 2022 primary and municipal elections, sample ballots are available through the State Board of Elections’ Voter Search tool. Voters also may check their registration status, Election Day polling place and additional information about their voting record using the Voter Search.

Voters who have requested absentee-by-mail ballots should receive them soon. In North Carolina, any eligible voter can request, receive, and vote an absentee ballot by mail.

Registered voters may request a ballot online at the North Carolina Absentee Ballot Portal. Voters may also submit a ballot request by filling out the English N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form for 2022 (PDF), the English N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form for 2022 (non-fillable print-only PDF), or Spanish N.C. Absentee Request Form for 2022 (PDF), and returning it to their county board of elections. Voters who submit the request form, instead of using the State Board’s website, must submit the form by mail or in person. They may not submit the request form via email or fax. The absentee ballot request deadline is May 10.

Overseas, military, and visually impaired voters may request, mark, and return their ballots through the State Board’s accessible portal.

By-mail voters in 2022 must once again have their ballot witnessed and the return envelope signed by two individuals or a notary. For 2020 only, because of the pandemic, the witness requirement was reduced to one.

By-mail voters may track their ballot using a service called BallotTrax. Sign up at BallotTrax: North Carolina.

The regular voter registration deadline for the May 17 primary election is April 22. Individuals who miss the deadline may register and vote at the same time during the in-person early voting period. Registered voters may not change their party affiliation after the voter registration deadline, and they may not change their party affiliation at an early voting site.

The in-person early voting period for the 2022 primary begins Thursday, April 28, and ends at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 14. Voters may cast a ballot at any early voting site in their county. Early voting sites and schedules are available at the One-Stop Early Voting Site Search.

Election Day is May 17. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.