GREENSBORO, N.C. — Election Day is two months away, and North Carolina will start sending out mail-in ballots this Friday, Sept. 4. To get one, registered voters must contact the NC Board of Elections (BoE) or fill out an online application and wait the estimated seven-to-10 days to receive the ballot in the mail.
What if there were an easier process (that'll save a stamp)?
Good Morning Show viewer Richard Swift asked WFMY News 2's Meghann Mollerus to VERIFY a mailer he received from the Center for Voter Information. Inside was an explanation about the organization and an absentee ballot request form (that appeared identical to the one available on the NC BoE website). The mailer included a pre-addressed envelope to Swift's local BoE and pre-paid postage. Swift asked if the form is legitimate, and if so, why he--but not his wife--received one.
The Center for Voter Information website explains the organization is a non-profit 501(c)(4), non-partisan and non-governmental organization that has helped millions of Americans register to vote. It sends out voter registration and absentee ballot applications to eligible voters across the country. The ballot applications are tailored to each state.
The organization does not explain how it selects registered voters to receive the mailers, but voter information is public record. That is likely why Swift's envelope was already addressed to his county BoE P.O. Box.
Guilford County BoE Director Charlie Collicutt explained, "They (Center for Voter Information) are a legitimate organization. The form is an official document that can be used to request a by-mail ballot. As long as the form comes blank, with nothing pre-filled, and the voter mails in the form themselves, it will be a valid request for a ballot."
As for why Swift received an application, but his wife did not, Collicutt did not know the answer but said their situation is not unique.
The NC BoE plans to roll out an absentee ballot portal on Sept. 1 that could allow voters to submit their ballot request applications online.
NC voters do not need an "excuse" to vote absentee, but voters must submit the request. A few states are sending absentee ballots to all registered voters, but NC is not among them.
Yes, a blank absentee ballot request form from the Center for Voter Information is a legitimate means of applying for an absentee ballot.
For absentee ballot votes to count, the voter must turn in the ballot to his or her local BoE no later than 5 p.m. on Election Day. The NC BoE explains absentee ballots received after 5 p.m. on Election Day will be counted only if they are postmarked on or before Election Day and received by mail no later than 5 p.m. Nov. 6.
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