Absentee Ballot by Mail

If you are a registered voter in Catawba County follow these steps to vote a mail-in ballot:

Note: An Abenstee Request does not “auto renew” from election to election. You must request a ballot for EACH election.

Photo ID is required. Rules on providing copies of Photo ID by absentee-by-mail voters will be included in the mailed absentee packet along with the ballot.

1. Send Request

Request online

Request via ONLINE PortalPreferred Method - link to the North Carolina Absentee Ballot Portal. This is the fastest way to request a mail-in-ballot.

Request on paper

These forms must be printed and signed by hand.

  • Submit a completed form for each election. One request per 1 person per 1 election.
  • Changes to your name, residential address, or mailing address may be made on the request form.
  • The request cannot be processed without a valid NC Drivers License number (or DMV permit/ID card) or last four digits of your Social Security number (Registered name must exactly match name on SS Card).
  • A request may be completed and signed by a qualified legal guardian or near relative (spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild).
  • A temporary or alternate mailing address may be supplied for delivery of ballot.

Deliver the printed paper form to the Board of Elections Office (printed forms are available in the office)

  • Mail: Catawba County BOE, PO Box 132, Newton, NC 28658 (Multiple requests may be sent in the same envelope)
  • Hand deliver: 145 Government Dr, Newton - beside parking deck beside the Justice Center.
    Only the voter or their near relative may hand-deliver the request.

Note: faxed and emailed absentee ballot requests are NOT allowed by law.

DEADLINE: The request must be in the BOE office by 5pm the Tuesday before the election (1 week). Any request received after 5pm will not be processed.

NOT REGISTERED? If you are not registered and it is more than 25 days before the election, you may submit BOTH an Absentee Ballot Request and a Voter Registration Form. Once your registration form successfully processes, your Absentee Request will be processed. (If not registered by the deadline, the only option you have to vote is at an Early Voting site.)

  • No. Law requires that only the voter, a "near relative," or a "Verifiable Legal Guardian" may hand-deliver a request. A friend, roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor, ex-spouse, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle, etc. CANNOT submit your request at the Board of Elections office.
  • By law, a near relative is a
    • spouse
    • brother
    • sister
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • child
    • grandchild
    • mother-in-law
    • father-in-law
    • daughter-in-law
    • son-in-law
    • stepparent
    • stepchild.
  • No. Absentee requests may only be submitted by mail or delivered in-person. (only Military and Overseas citizens may submit paper requests electronically)
  • Yes. If you are a registered voter, you may visit the State Board of Elections' online portal to request a ballot: VoteByMail.ncsbe.gov [Note: this site will be functional in the near future.]
  • Yes. A "Near Relative" (as defined above) may request a ballot for their family member.
  • Yes, you could BUT...you may only request a civilian ballot.
    • Military and Overseas voters have the option of receiving an electronic ballot but they must request it for themselves by using VoteByMail.ncsbe.gov (choose Option 2) or fvap.gov
    • Uniformed and Overseas Citizens using the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) method should refer to the UOCAVA Election Notice (see link at bottom of main page).
  • The Board of Elections deploys a Multi-partisan Assistance Team, or “MAT,” which is a group of persons appointed by the county board of elections to provide assistance with mail-in absentee voting to voters living at facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, or adult care homes. The makeup of the Team includes, at a minimum, two people who have different party affiliations or who are not affiliated with a political party. When help is requested from a MAT, the voter will receive impartial, professional assistance; their job is to help residents vote, but the voters' choices remain confidential.Multi-Partisan Assistance Team Flyer

2. Receive Mail-in Ballot

Your ballot will be sent to the Absentee Mailing Address you provided on the request in a 9x12 envelope marked "OFFICIAL ABSENTEE BALLOTING MATERIAL - FIRST CLASS MAIL." Once ballots are available, ballots are sent the same day (or the next morning) of receiving requests in the elections office. By law, ballots must be mailed.

The mailed envelope packet will contain:

  1. a blank official absentee ballot;
  2. absentee voting instructions;
  3. a large Return Envelope;
  4. Photo ID Exception Form (used only if a copy of voter's Photo ID is not included)
  5. the Absentee Application and Certificate found on the back of the Ballot Container Envelope. This must be signed by voter and 2 witnesses (or one notary public). A COPY OF YOUR PHOTO ID must be placed in the plastic window on the back of this container envelope. If the (yellow) Photo ID Exception form is used in lieu of a photo ID, it must be signed and placed in the plastic window.

Ballots are mailed to voters once ballots for an election are available. For most elections, ballots will be available:

  • 50 days prior to a primary election
  • 60 days prior to a statewide general election
  • 30 days prior to a municipal election

If ballots are available and you have not received your ballot within 10 days of your request, call the office at 828-464-2424.

If you sent your request at the same time as another voter in your household and they have their ballot, please wait a day or two before calling. Your ballot may be in a different USPS delivery. The Board of Elections has no control over the delivery of the mail once it is given to the local USPS. Keep in mind that mail posted in the Newton, NC office is sent to the Greensboro, NC processing center before it gets to your mail carrier.

3. Gather Witnesses

Before voting your ballot, you must have TWO witnesses present who are at least 18 years old.
As an alternative, you may have only one Notary Public instead of two witnesses. By law, the notary cannot charge for this service. NCGS § 10B-30(d)

A witness must respect the secrecy of the ballot and the privacy of the absentee voter at all times.

Anyone at least 18 years old may be an absentee witness except the following:

  • A person who is a candidate for nomination or election in the primary or election in which you are voting absentee (unless the candidate is your near relative or legal guardian.) NCGS § 163-237(c)
  • An owner, manager, director, employee, or other person affiliated with a hospital, clinic, nursing home or rest home, if you are a patient (unless the person is your near relative or legal guardian.) NCGS § 163-226.3(a)(4)

4. Mark Ballot

In the presence of the witnesses (or notary) and using a black ballpoint pen, mark your ballot, or instruct a person in your presence to mark it according to your instructions. The witnesses do not have to see who you are voting for; rather, they are certifying that, in their presence, it is the voter who marked the ballot (or caused it to be marked according to the voter's instruction) and signed the absentee application and certificate containing the sealed ballot.

Yes. A person assisting with marking your ballot must do so in your presence and only as you direct.

5. Place Marked Ballot in Ballot Container Envelope

In the presence of your witnesses, place the voted ballot in the ballot container envelope provided and seal it securely.

Do not place any other document (or another voter’s ballot) in the envelope.

6. Complete the Ballot Container Envelope

Required Signatures

  • Voter must sign (or make a mark) and date the Voter's Certification box.
  • If assistance was provided by an individual in marking the ballot, the Certification of Person Assisting Voter must be completed and signed.
  • The two witnesses must sign and provide their contact information in the Witnesses' Certification box.
  • (Alternately) If a notary was used instead of the witnesses, they must complete the Alternative Notary-Witness Certification box.

IMPORTANT: If the Absentee Application and Certificate is returned without all of the proper signatures, the ballot will not be counted

Other Signatures

  • Second Primary or Runoff Request - sign this box if you wish to automatically receive a ballot if there is a runoff election. (If the mailing address will be different, please provide in this box.)
  • Annual Request for Sickness/Physical Disability - sign If, due to illness or disability, you wish to receive any ballots that you are entitled to vote in this calendar year

Copy of Photo ID

  • A copy of the voter's valid Photo ID is placed in the clear plastic window on the back of the Ballot Container Envelope. DO NOT send the original photo ID.
  • (Alternative) If a photo ID is not available, or a copy cannot be obtained, complete the yellow Photo ID Exception form and place in the clear plastic window

7. Return the Ballot

Place the completed Ballot Container Envelope inside the larger Return Envelope and return to the BOE office before the deadline.

Affix proper postage (amount of postage required is indicated on the instruction sheet).

For voters who must send the ballot using a service other than the United States Postal Service, Catawba County BOE's physical delivery address is 145 Government Drive, Newton, NC 28636.

A ballot may be hand-delivered to the board of elections, but only the voter or a near relative* may personally deliver the ballot. Once your voted ballot has been returned to the office, you have completed the act of voting. You may not later withdraw your ballot.

DEADLINE: Your ballot must be IN THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OFFICE by 7:30 pm on Election Day.

  • If mailed, the ballot will NOT be counted if it arrives AFTER election day.

*Near Relative: spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild.

Status of your request or returned ballot can be found using the Voter Search Tool.

Military and Overseas Voters

Military and Overseas Citizens should submit an FPCA (Federal Post Card Application). Follow directions on the site.

NC Law requires that voters are informed of certain unlawful acts: NCGS§ 163-226.3. Certain acts declared felonies.