The Absentee Ballot Process in NC

Today we want to review the requirements and Absentee Ballot process for you.

Blowing Rock Sample Ballot:

N C Civilian Voter Registration Deadline

  • The voter registration deadline is September 15, 2023, for municipal elections taking place on October 10, 2023.
  • The voter registration deadline is October 13, 2023, for municipal elections taking place on November 7, 2023.

Early voting starts October 19, 2023
Watauga location: 

  • Watauga County Administration Building located at 814 W. King St., Boone
  • Plemmons Student Union, ASU  located at 263 Locust St, Boone, NC 28608


Office Hours: M-F (8:00-5:00)
Physical Address:
BOONE, NC 28607

Mailing Address:
PO BOX 528
BOONE, NC 28607
828-265-8068 (fax)

Caldwell Early Voting location:
120 Hospital Avenue, Lenoir


Office Hours: M-F (8:00-5:00)
Physical Address:
LENOIR, NC 28645

Mailing Address:
PO BOX 564
LENOIR, NC 28645
828-757-1195 (fax)

Deadline to request Absentee Ballots: October 31, 2023.  With all the issues with USPS we strongly recommend you request this early and DO NOT wait until the last minute.  Another new rule for 2023 is that you must have a photo ID.  You can copy and send the ID in with your absentee ballot.  If you don’t have access to resources to make a copy you must complete the Photo ID Exception Form and include it with the ballot. 

1. NC General Statue requires you to request a ballot from the Board of Elections.  That application is available online.  It is here:

2.  You will receive confirmation from the Board of Elections confirming they have received your request.  It looks similar to this:

Hello (Voter Name),

This is a message from Watauga County Board Of Elections. Your absentee ballot request for the upcoming November 7, 2023 Municipal Election has been received and we are preparing to mail your ballot. Visit for election information.

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North Carolina BallotTrax is a service of the North Carolina State Board of Elections through your county election office. Your email, (voter email , was used to sign up for Watauga County Board Of Elections Ballot Delivery Notifications at To keep our e-mails out of your spam/junk mail folder, please add us to your address book.

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3. For 2023 NC requires a Voter ID.  Rules are:

Absentee-By-Mail Voters

Voters who vote by mail must include a photocopy of an acceptable ID when returning their ballot, or they may complete an ID Exception Form. The voter places the photocopy of ID or ID Exception Form in a pocket on the outside of the ballot container envelope, which is then placed in an outer return envelope to protect the privacy of the voter.

Acceptable Photo IDs for Voting:

Any of the following that is unexpired, or expired for one year or less:

  • North Carolina driver’s license
  • State ID from the NCDMV (also called “non-operator ID”)
  • Driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, District of Columbia, or U.S. territory (only if voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election)
  • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card
  • North Carolina voter photo ID card issued by a county board of elections (see Get a Free Voter Photo ID).
  • College or university student ID approved by the State Board of Elections (see box below)
  • State or local government or charter school employee ID approved by the State Board of Elections (see box below)

Note: A voter 65 or older may use an expired form of acceptable ID if the ID was unexpired on their 65th birthday.

Any of the following, regardless of whether the ID contains an expiration or issuance date:

  • Military or veterans ID card (with photo) issued by the U.S. government
  • Tribal enrollment card (with photo) issued by a tribe recognized by the state or federal government
  • ID card (with photo) issued by an agency of the U.S. government or the State of North Carolina for a public assistance program (Note: Although this is an acceptable form of ID under North Carolina law, the State Board is not aware of any such ID in circulation that contains a photo. All IDs for voting are required to have a photo.)

4.  There are a number of options to acquire an approved photo ID:

Free Photo ID Cards

All county boards of elections can issue free voter photo IDs to registered voters in their county. To be issued a free voter photo ID card, the voter must provide their name, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken. Find additional information at Get a Free Voter Photo ID.

Additionally, any North Carolina resident can get a free non-driver’s ID card from the DMV. Find more information under “No-Fee ID Cards” at State IDs | NCDMV.

5.  If you do not have a Photo ID the state requires a Photo ID Exception Form be completed.  We can’t find this form on the NCSBE Website. We would be happy to email you this form or you can call Watauga County Board of Elections.

We have received confirmation that Absentee Ballots are now being received so go ahead and get the process started now.

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