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North Carolina

0 /65
Vote at Home Score

2020 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed-out ballots

0 %

2016 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed out ballots

0 %

State election policies as of 2022...

Full Vote-at-Home

0/10

Full Vote-at-Home

Voter automatically mailed ballot for every election

No Excuse Required

6/6

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote from home

Single Sign-Up

0/6

Single Sign-Up

Voter signs up once to receive mail ballot for all future elections

Local Vote-at-Home Option

0/5

Local VAH Option

Local governments have discretion to conduct full vote-at-home elections

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

2/2

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

Voter can apply for mail ballot online

Ballot Tracking

4/4

Ballot Tracking

Voter can receive ballot status notifications.

In-Person Ballot Return

0/5

In-Person Ballot Return

Voter has multiple options to return mail ballot in person

Signature Verification

0/5

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Ballot Cure Process

0/4

Ballot Cure Process

Voter can correct issues so ballot can be counted

Prepaid Postage

0/4

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

1/4

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Ballots postmarked by Election Day are accepted

In-Person Voting

2/4

In-Person Return

Physical locations for voters to vote and receive assistance

Pre-Processing

3/3

Signature Verification

Ballots are verified and scanned before Election Day

Mail Ballot Applications

2/2

Mail Ballot Applications

Election officials can mail ballot applications to all voters eligible to vote from home

Ballot Return Assistance

1/2

Ballot Return Assistance

Voters may receive assistance to return their mail ballot

Opportunities

North Carolina can reduce costs and increase voter convenience by expanding its semi-permanent absentee voting list, where voters can sign up to automatically be sent an absentee ballot for each election in the year without having to re-apply, to all voters. This would save the state significant expenses by cutting down on the requests it needs to process; on average, states save $1 for every request they no longer need to process.
North Carolina implemented top-tier ballot tracking in the 2020 election and should make it a permanent feature for all future elections. An expanded notification system helps keep rejection rates low and increases voter confidence and participation.
Offering secure drop boxes as another method for voters to return ballots is a cost-effective way to reduce strain on the postal system. We highly recommend including provisions to allow for ballots to be received at polling places, vote centers, and drop boxes, as well as other locations deemed necessary by the clerk. These options are a preferred method by voters who want an extra bit of reassurance that their ballot makes it to the elections office on time.
We highly recommend creating vote centers, or polling locations where any voter in the county can vote. This is a way to streamline the system so over time, as the share of the vote cast by mail increases, counties can have fewer overall polling locations, while individual voters will have more voting location options.
Guaranteeing prepaid postage is a voter-centric reform that breaks down an economic barrier to the ballot box.
Accepting ballots with Election Day postmarks is a best practice to ensure that voters are given all options to vote their ballot in a timely manner. North Carolina was court ordered to accept ballots postmarked by election day 9 days after the election for the 2020 general election, and should codify this change.
Signature verification processes fulfill the purposes of witness and notary requirements, while imposing a less heavier burden on voters. Signature verification, like witness and notary requirements, ensures that ballots are completed by the voters they were sent to; however, unlike signature verification, witness and notary requirements are harder to satisfy, especially for disabled voters and voters that live alone, among other groups. We recommend that North Carolina eliminate its notary or witness requirement in favor of a secure, less burdensome, signature verification process.

Recent Legislation

As of June 20, 2021

During the 2020 session, one piece of pro-vote by mail legislation passed: HB 1169. HB 1169 established an online absentee request system, added an online ballot tracking system, but left other barriers, like the witness requirement for all absentee ballots, intact. Later, courts required the state to prepay postage for ballot return envelopes and create a cure process. The State Board decided to keep the cure process.

While the State has an opportunity to codify these temporary reforms and strengthen its electoral system, it hasn’t passed any bills containing voter-centric reforms as of time of writing. Indeed the bills the Legislature is considering in its 2021 session would either make absentee voting more restricted and difficult or would have no significant effect on voter access.

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