Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the qualifications to vote in Chatham County?

A citizen of the United States (if convicted of a felony, citizenship rights must be restored). A legal resident of Chatham County for 30 days by the date of the next election. A person 18 years of age, or will be by the date of the General Election; or a person at least 16 years of age and understand that you must be at least 18 years old on Election Day of the General Election to vote.

How do I register to vote?

You must complete a Voter Registration Application and mail or deliver to the elections office at least 25 days prior to an election. A Voter's Information Card will be mailed to you once your registration application has been processed. This card provides your proof of registration and also provides useful information as to your precinct number and polling location. The card also displays what jurisdictions you vote in. Please retain this card as it may be used to change your address by mail should you move, change your name or change your party affiliation within Chatham County. It can also be used to cancel your Chatham County registration should you move out of the county. This card is not required on Election Day in order to vote. Chatham County has a permanent registration system. You need to register or request a change in your registration only if you:
  • Have not registered in Chatham County before.
  • Have moved within the county since the last election. It is a violation of the law to vote in your old precinct if you moved more than 30 days prior to the election. 
  • Wish to change your party affiliation or have legally changed your name.

A registration application/change form must be postmarked or delivered to the Board of Elections 25 days prior to an election in order to be valid for that election.

I suspect that somone registered to vote does not qualify.  Where do I verify this? 

A complaint concerning someone's right to vote is called a "Challenge".  Any registered voter can challenge someone's right to register, remain registered or to vote in an Election.  Any registered voter of the same precinct as the challenged voter may challenge a voter's right to vote. If you are not eligible to enter a challenge, you should bring your concerns to a candidate's campaign organization.

You may challenge a mail-in absentee, one-stop early voting, or Election Day ballot on the day of the election. Challenges to mail-in absentee or one-stop ballots are made at the Board of Elections at 984 Thompson Street, Suite D, Pittsboro, or to the Chief Judge at the voter's precinct.  Challenges to ballots cast on Election Day are made at the precincts. The challenger enters the polls and makes the challenge to the Chief Judge of the precinct. The challenger must have evidence that the voter should not be allowed to cast a ballot. The Chief Judge and both Party Judges shall hear both the challenger and voter and may question both parties. The Chief Judge and the Party Judges shall proceed to make a decision as to whether the voter may proceed to complete and cast their ballot. If the Chief Judge upholds the challenger, the voter may vote a challenged ballot. 

All challenges to ballots will be considered at a hearing at canvass when election results are certified by the Board of Elections. All witnesses will present evidence under oath. Ballots will remain sealed until a decision is made and the ballots will be kept confidential by the Board of Elections. Challengers or challenged voters may appeal the County Board of Elections decisions to the County Superior Court within ten days following the hearing. Complaints may also be filed with the State Board of Elections.

I am registered as "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 by not declaring a party. During a partisan primary election, an unaffiliated voter may vote only if a party authorizes unaffiliated voters to vote in their primary. If all parties authorize unaffiliated voters to vote, the voter must 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 the registration form is mailed to the Board of Elections, 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 5:15 PM on the 25th day prior to the Election.

When are the polls open?

The polls are open from 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM on Election Day.

How do I know where to vote?

When you register or make an address change or information change, or if the Board of Elections assigns you to a new precinct or polling place, the Board of Elections sends you a new voter card. Your voting place (polling place) is printed on the card. You are assigned a polling place based on the precinct where you live. You may also search with the State Board of Elections website at Voter Search to determine your current registration status, including your precinct location. You can then use Polling Place Search to determine your voting location. The voter information is updated daily.

If you don't know where to vote or if you have moved to a different residential address than we have one file, don't wait until Election Day to make changes! You may experience a delay 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’t I just vote there?

No. You must vote at the polling place for your precinct on Election Day. The precinct officials there will look for your name on a list of all of the voters in the precinct. If you go to a polling place other than your precinct, you must vote provisionally. 

How do I know if my voter registration is up to date?

If you are not sure of your voter registration, call the Board of Election office at 919-545-8500 and someone will verify your registration status. You may also visit our website to determine your registration status and voting location. This information is updated daily.

What if a voter is unable to enter the polling place because of age of physical disability?

Voters in this category wanting to vote on Election Daywill be allowed to vote outside the polling place. This procedure is called “curbside voting”. Look for the “Curbside Voting” sign and park there. A “Curbside Alert” will inform the precinct officials inside the polling place that there is someone wishing to vote “Curbside”. If possible, having someone enter the voting place to inform precinct officials that you are waiting at curbside is helpful. The precinct official handling “Curbside Voters’ will assist the voters in preparing the necessary paperwork. As an alternative, the voter may choose to vote by absentee ballot, which can be returned by mail.

I keep getting mail from the Board of Elections office for a person that used to live at my address. He doesn’t live here anymore. Why don’t you remove his name from the voter registration books?

Reasons for removing voter registration are very specifically outlined in North Carolina General Statute 163.82.14. We cannot cancel a voter's registration based on a report. Voter registration cards are sent first-class mail and are addressed to a specific person. Any first-class mail that you receive that is not addressed to you should be returned to the postman unopened. You should note on the piece of mail that the person does not live at your address.

Only after two or more such mailings are returned to our office and also after two federal elections have passed may we begin the removal process. Otherwise, we must receive official notice that the voter has registered elsewhere, has died, or has been convicted of a felony before we can remove a voter's registration records. We may also remove a voter's registration records if we receive a signed written request from the voter.

I will be away on Election Day. How do I vote by absentee ballot?

All registered voters in Chatham County may request an absentee ballot by mail or may vote absentee in person (one-stop voting). Listing a reason why you need such a ballot is no longer required. Click here to download a State Board of Elections form to request for an absentee ballot by mail.

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