Any person, organization, group, political party, committee, campaign, employer or other entity may conduct a voter registration drive. Assisting the public with voter registration services carries important responsibilities and adhering to the below guidelines is essential to a legal and successful voter registration drive.
Voter registration applications may be obtained free of charge at the Board of Elections office.
Any organization or group interested in holding a registration drive can request up to 200 voter registration forms at a time from our office. Those conducting large-scale registration drives where 200 forms may not meet the need can request larger quantities of registration forms directly from the NC State Board of Elections.
Voter registration applications may be used to:
- Apply to register to vote
- Report a change in party affiliation
- Report a change in address
- Report a name change
- Report a change in other information
To be eligible to register to vote, a person must meet the following qualifications:
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must be a resident of the county, and prior to voting in an election, must have resided at his or her residential address for at least 30 days prior to the date of the election
- Must be at least 18 years old or will be 18 by the date of the next general election (Persons at least 16 years of age may pre-register)
- Must not be serving a felony sentence, including any period of probation, post-release supervision, or parole*
- Must rescind any previous registration in another county or state
- Must provide their North Carolina driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number
* Per order of the North Carolina Supreme Court in April 2023, North Carolinians convicted of felonies must complete their sentences-including any prison time and any period of probation, post-release supervision, or parole- before they regain their right to vote. For more information about voter eligibility for people serving felony sentences, please visit this NC State Board of Elections Webpage (LINK).
Individuals who will be 18 years of age by the date of the next general election may register to vote at 17 years of age and vote in the preceding primary. Individuals that are at least 16 years old, may also complete a registration form for pre-registration.
Per order of a North Carolina superior court, if you are not in prison or jail for a felony conviction, you may register to vote and vote. For more information about voter eligibility for people serving felony sentences, please visit the NC State Board of Elections Webpage.
Ultimately it is the duty of the Board of Elections to determine an individual's eligibility to register to vote.
In order to be eligible to vote in an election, a registrant's voter registration application must be submitted by the deadline, meaning either hand-delivered to the Board of Elections office by 5 pm on the 25th day before the election or postmarked by the 25th day before the election.
If the individual or group conducting the voter registration drive fails to return the completed forms to the Board of Elections by this deadline, even properly registered applicants will not be processed in time to register to vote on Election Day.
College Students in New Hanover County should note that their physical address is the street address of their dormitory if they are living on campus. In addition to this, students must also provide a mailing address different from their on-campus address; such as their campus post office box.
In order to ensure swift processing of voter registration forms, please be sure to keep the following things in mind during your drive:
- Applications need to be completed using dark-colored ink (preferably black).
- Voter Registration forms need to be returned to this office no later than 5 days following completion.
- Only 200 forms can be requested from this office per visit.
- All forms need to be checked for proper completion before acceptance.
- The required fields of information on a voter registration application are:
- Citizenship and Age checkboxes
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Address (need physical address and mailing address, if applicable)
- Any voter registration forms completed by new registrants at voter registration drives or sent by mail must contain the applicant's North Carolina driver's license number, DMV-issued identification card, or the last four digits of the voter's SSN
- If you realize that a registrant has not completed the voter registration form, do not complete the form for them.
- The "incomplete" form should not be altered, flagged, or written on for any reason by anyone other than the registrant, but should be given to the county board of elections as is.
- The county boards of elections have procedures in place to contact the applicant to retrieve the missing information.