Absentee Ballot by Mail
If you are a registered voter in Catawba County follow these steps to vote a mail-in ballot:
1. Send Request
Absentee Ballot Request Submit a completed form for each election. 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. 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.
- Request ONLINE - the North Carolina Absentee Ballot Portal. This is the fastest way to request a mail-in-ballot.
- Mail: Catawba 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 across from Justice Center. Only the voter or their near relative may hand-deliver the request.
Note: faxed and emailed absentee ballot requests are NOT allowed
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 succesfully processes, your Absentee Request will be processed. (If not registered by the deadline, the only option you have to vote is at a One-Stop Early Voting site.)
- No. Law requires that only the voter, a "near relative, or a "Verfiable 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, or 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.
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:
- a blank official absentee ballot;
- absentee voting instructions; and
- the Absentee Application and Certificate found on the back of the return ballot-container envelope.
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 presense and only as you direct.
5. Place Marked Ballot in Envelope
In the presence of your witnesses, place the voted ballot in the ballot container-return envelope provided and seal it securely.
Do not place any other document or another person’s ballot in the envelope.
6. Complete the Return Envelope
- 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
- 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 disabilty, you wish to receive any ballots that you are entitiled to vote in this caldenar year
7. Return the Ballot
Mail your voted ballot in the signed ballot container-return envelope.
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, our 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 our office, you have completed the act of voting. You may not later withdraw your ballot.
DEADLINE: Your ballot must be returned or mailed by 5:00 pm on Election Day.
- If the ballot is received in the mail after Election Day and there is no postmark, the ballot will not be counted.
- Any postmarked ballots recevied after 5pm on the Friday after the election will not be counted.
*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.