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Frequently Asked Questions



How Can I Become a Pollworker?

Please click here for information on becoming a Poll Worker.

I am registered unaffiliated, may I vote in a Primary Election?

You may register with any political party recognized in the State of North Carolina. Party affiliation determines the primary in which a voter is eligible to vote. You may also register as unaffiliated. If you do not declare a party on your registration application, you will be registered as unaffiliated. During a partisan primary election, an unaffiliated voter may vote a party ballot only if the party authorizes unaffiliated voters to vote in their primary. If all parties authorize unaffiliated voters to vote, the voter may choose which party ballot he wishes to vote on the day of the Primary.

When is the deadline to register to vote in an election?

If mailed, the registration form must be postmarked at least 25 days prior to the election. If hand-delivered, the registration form must be received at the Board of Elections office no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 25th day prior to the election.

When are the polls open? 

The polls are open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day

How do I know where to vote? 

When you register to vote or make an address change or information change, or if the Board of Elections assigns you to a new precinct, you will receive a voter verification card. Your precinct and polling place location is printed on the card. You are assigned a polling place based on the precinct where you live. You may determine your registration status and voting location. The voter information is updated daily. 

If you have moved from the residence address that we have on file, complete this form and mail to Orange County Board of Elections, P.O. Box 220 Hillsborough, NC 27278. 

Do not wait until Election Day to change your address. You may experience a delay in voting if your residence address is not up to date or if we have sent mail to your voter registration address that was returned to us by the Postal Service.

I drive by a polling place on my way to work.  Can I just vote there?

You should vote at your designated polling place on Election Day. Your name will be on the list of voters verified to vote in that precinct.

If my citizenship rights are restored, do I have to prove it or apply in any special way? 

No, just re-register within the time limits of the election.

Can people who will be 18 by Election Day register and vote in the primaries as well as the general election? 

Yes, 17 ½ yr olds may register; however, they are not allowed to vote the School Board Ballot if they haven't turned 18 by Election Day.  (G.S. 163-59)

What are the rules for residency if I still have stuff at my parents' or some other previous address? 

The citizen/voter must determine where they consider their home to be.  That address is the residence address for registering and voting.

Can I do any part of registering on-line? 

North Carolina does not have on-line registration.  You may obtain a Registration Application from the State Board of Elections web site, complete the form and mail it to the Orange County Board of Elections office (address below). You may also complete the form in person at the county board of elections office, or call and we will be glad to mail you a registration application.

mailing address:

Orange County Board of Elections
P.O. Box 220
Hillsborough, N.C. 27278

physical address:

208 S. Cameron Street

Hillsborough, NC 27278

What do I do if I go to the wrong polling place and don't have time to go to the right one? 

You should make your best effort to get to your correct polling place by 7:30pm Election Day. By law, out of precinct Provisional Ballots shall not be considered by the Board for approval. Any voter, however, regardless of the reason, may vote a Provisional Ballot if they wish to do so.

 What do I do if they can't find me on the registration book and I'm sure I've registered? 

After the precinct official has called the Board of Elections office and we are still unable to locate your registration information, you may vote a Provisional Ballot.  Wednesday and Thursday after the election are the days on which we research/look for registrations for those persons voting Provisional Ballots.  Provisional Ballots are counted and added to the official totals on Tuesday following the election during Canvass by the Board of Elections.  Also, prior to the election, you may check on-line to verify your registration.

 What if my name or address has been entered incorrectly on the registration rolls? 

You should contact the Board of Elections in writing to have this correction made.  If the error is realized on Election Day, precinct officials have forms that you may complete and leave with them so that we can make the corrections after Election Day.

 Unaffiliated voters can vote in any Party primary, right?

The Democrat and Republican parties allow Unaffiliated voters to vote in their Party Primary Elections. The Unaffiliated Voter may choose one party's ballot or they may choose to vote a Non-Partisan Ballot. Voting a party ballot will not change the voter’s party affiliation. 

 If I am Unaffiliated, does it matter if I choose a different party from the last time I voted? 

If there is a Second Primary, you may only vote the party ballot that you voted in the First Primary. In General Elections, everyone gets the same ballot regardless of party affiliation.

In any future Primary Elections, Unaffiliated voters may chose a different party from the last Primary Election.

Do I have to re-register to change my party affiliation? 

You must complete a new Registration Application each time you wish to change party affiliation. Or, if you have your voter verification card that was mailed to you when you registered, there is a place for you to change your party affiliation. You may complete the back of that and submit it to the Board of Elections. A new verification card will be mailed to you.

 If, for any reason, I'm told I can't vote and I believe I have registered properly, what do I do? 

You should be allowed to vote a Provisional Ballot.  No person should be denied the right to vote a provisional ballot. Do not leave the precinct without a precinct official or you contacting the Elections Office concerning your situation.

 What is a Provisional Voter?

A Provisional voter is one who appears at a polling place on election day, claims to have registered to vote, but does not appear on the registration lists.

 When will the pre-election (early voting) polls open? 

In-person Absentee/Early Voting (One-Stop Voting) begins approximately 12 days prior to Election Day.  More specific information is available on our website under

Early Voting.

 If I want to vote absentee, what is the last date to get in my application?

The last day to request by mail ballots is the Tuesday prior to Election Day.  The request must be in the BOE office by Tuesday and (as of 2014) all requests must be on state-mandated forms which are available on our website and the State Board website.

 Can I apply for an absentee ballot for my child away at college if s/he is registered to vote here? 

A near relative (spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent or stepchild) may request absentee ballots for a voter using the absentee ballot request form on our website or on the State Board website.  The ballots must be mailed from the Board of Elections office to the voter.  The voter must vote their ballot and complete their application envelope, according to instructions provided, before returning it to our office. 

 Can someone else bring in an absentee ballot for the voter who is out of town?

Once the voter has voted and completed their application envelope according to instructions provided, it can be returned to our office by mail or in person by the voter, the voters near relative or verifiable legal guardian.  (G.S. 163-231(b))


 If I am guardian to a person who is mentally disabled, can I vote for him or her the way I know s/he would want to vote?

No.  Although it is okay to physically assist a voter, all voters must be able to make their own decision about their ballot choices.

 If I am in the military or live overseas, how do I vote absentee?

There are different rules for military versus overseas citizens.  Neither must be registered prior to voting in Federal Elections, however, overseas un-registered voters must submit an FPCA form (Federal Post Card Application) in order to receive ballots.  They can download a form from or obtain an FPCA form from an Embassy or Consulate.  Military citizens may request in writing stating they are military or they may submit an FPCA form.  The request should be mailed to the last county in which they resided (regardless of registration status).

 Can I find out on line as to how I can vote absentee? 

Yes.  Visit our web site Board of Elections and click on “Absentee Voting”. 

 Will the voter registration form be available in Braille or other languages? 

Federal law does not require that Braille materials of any type be provided.  However, a Braille template may be made available and provided upon special request to the State Board of Elections.  Ballot marking instructions are available in English and Spanish for certain precincts required by law to have them.

 Can I go to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office to register to vote?

Only those persons having DMV business, may register to voter at the DMV office.

 If a voter is physically disabled, can they ask someone to help them mark their ballot?

Yes, any voter who would like someone’s assistance in order to vote may ask for it. The voter must request this assistance himself or herself. Precinct Officials nor anyone else should offer assistance, even if it may appear obvious that the voter needs assistance.  (G.S. 163-166.8)