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Deadlines and dates: What to know ahead of the 2023 municipal elections in NC

The 2023 municipal elections are just around the corner and WCNC's Jesse Pierre was at the Mecklenburg County elections office on the first day of candidate filing.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ahead of North Carolina's 2023 municipal elections, WCNC Charlotte is breaking down the upcoming election deadlines, dates and changes for voters and candidates.


Candidates have from noon on Friday, July 7, until noon on Friday, July 21, to file to participate in the 2023 nonpartisan and partisan municipal elections this fall.

Candidates must file at the relevant county board of elections office.

WCNC Charlotte's Jesse Pierre was at the Mecklenburg County elections office on the first day of candidate filing.

Several candidates -- some new faces and some running for re-election -- stopped in on the first day of filing.

“It is now noon which starts the candidate filing period for this year’s election season,” Director of Elections for Mecklenburg County Michael Dickerson, announced to the room full of candidates which was followed by cheers and applause.

Candidates said this is an exciting day as they look forward to their run for office. Many came in with family and friends, with campaign signage for support and they filed out their paperwork.

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Dickerson encouraged voters to familiarize themselves with the election process, saying it is important to make their voices count at the local level. Those elected at the local level are often the ones who make decisions that directly impact people's daily lives.

“These are the ones who set your tax rates, these are the ones who decide whether we get streets or buildings here or there these are extremely important elections," Dickerson said. "Not just the president which everyone says they always vote."

To file for municipal office, candidates must be registered voters, live in the district or ward they are running for, and be 21 years old by election day.

Benjamin “Ben” Copeland celebrated his 21st birthday in January and is hoping to bring some new blood to the Charlotte City Council.

READ MORE: New voting machines in NC touted as safe and secure

“It’s exciting to file the paperwork,” he said. “I’m a fresh face. I want to be the first member of Gen-Z elected to the Charlotte City Council.”

Copeland said affordable housing is a top issue for him.

“As a young person who is going into the economy and looking at housing options in the city, and it's kind of scary, and we need to clear that issue up,” Copeland said.

Tiawana Brown, who is running again for Charlotte City Council District 3, is hoping to see her name back on the ballot in November. Brown said she is also concerned about affordable housing in the Queen City.

“I think you should be able to live in any part of the city you want to live in and really be able to live and thrive and take care of your family,” Brown said. “Safety is evident. You want to be able to come out of your home, go where you need to be going and come back home.”

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Voters will also decide who will represent the at-large seats for the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board.

Shamaiye Haynes is running for the first time, and said she has a lot to bring to the table.

“I’ve worked in education and I’ve organized around education," Haynes said. "I founded the Charlotte community think tank ... identifying solutions for education. I finally see some things I want to push forward, and those things will help the community at large and help our children academically.”

Supporters had campaign signs out throughout the office.

Derek Partee is a current commissioner in the town of Huntersville and is now running for mayor.

“It is all about providing a service in a pleasant area to live in Huntersville- the biggest concern now is the infrastructure,” Partee said.

Scott Higgins is running for Cornelius town commissioner. If he wins, it would be his first time in office. He was in the doors before noon hit.

“I’m early for everything I do, and I like to be first and get the information out,” Higgins said, ready to tackle various issues. “I think you have to have a balance between residential growth and quality growth, amenities that people want ... like greenways and parks. That's what people want. It is an active community and people want that.”

Some familiar faces are back. Colin Furcht running for re-election as the town of Cornelius commissioner.

“We are working internally to get some road projects accomplished at the town level and not have to necessarily rely on NCDOT as much as the state has to,” he said. “The other part is the growth.”

Charlotte City Councilman Ed Driggs, a member since 2013, is running for his 6th term.

“I am eager," Driggs said. "It is always exciting, and I want to serve."

He said he is aware of a lot of the issues Charlotte faces and wants to continue the hard work ahead

“We are halfway in the process of rewriting a land ordinance we haven’t revised in 40 years," Driggs said. "We have a multi-billion dollar mobility plan that is proceeding slowly. I’m running because I want to see these things through. I want to see them included successfully for the benefit of Charlotte.”

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Municipal elections will take place over three separate dates. Voters can go here to find out the date of their municipal election, if their municipality is holding a primary and if absentee voting is allowed. 

There is also a local voter tool for mobile users. 


  • Tuesday, Sept. 12:  Municipal Partisan Primary Election (in some counties, including Mecklenburg)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 10: Municipal Elections
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7: Municipal Elections (Mecklenburg)

The following 10 counties do not have 2023 municipal elections:

  • Clay County
  • Craven County
  • Currituck County
  • Gates County
  • Henderson County
  • Hyde County
  • Person County
  • Polk County
  • Stanly County
  • Surry County


In North Carolina, the civilian voter registration deadline is 25 days before the election. Since the 2023 municipal primary elections and elections are spread across three dates, here are the voter registration deadlines:

  • Aug, 18: Voter registration deadline for municipal elections held on Sept. 12.
  • Sept. 15: Voter registration deadline for municipal elections held on Oct. 10.
  • Oct. 13: Voter registration deadline for municipal elections held on Nov. 7.

For military or overseas voters, the voter registration deadline is 5 p.m. on the day before the election. Learn more about military and overseas voting here.

Mail-In Voter Registration Applications:

  • The completed application must be postmarked by the county's voter registration deadlines (see above).
  • The county board of elections in which a person is registering to vote must receive the application no later than 20 days before a primary or election.

Learn more about registering to vote by mail here.

Same-Day Registration:

If you miss your voter registration deadline, you will be able to register during early voting at early voting sites. This is called "same-day registration" and you can learn more about the process here.


Beginning this election year, North Carolina voters must show photo identification in order to vote.

Any of the following that is unexpired, or expired for one year or less:

  • North Carolina driver’s license
  • State ID from the NCDMV (also called “non-operator ID”)
  • Driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, District of Columbia, or U.S. territory (only if voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election)
  • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card
  • North Carolina voter photo ID card issued by a county board of elections (see Get a Free Voter Photo ID).
  • College or university student ID approved by the State Board of Elections (see box below)
  • State or local government or charter school employee ID approved by the State Board of Elections (see box below)

Note: A voter 65 or older may use an expired form of acceptable ID if the ID was unexpired on their 65th birthday.

Any of the following, regardless of whether the ID contains an expiration or issuance date:

  • Military or veterans ID card (with photo) issued by the U.S. government
  • Tribal enrollment card (with photo) issued by a tribe recognized by the state or federal government
  • ID card (with photo) issued by an agency of the U.S. government or the State of North Carolina for a public assistance program (Note: Although this is an acceptable form of ID under North Carolina law, the State Board is not aware of any such ID in circulation that contains a photo. All IDs for voting are required to have a photo.)

Don’t have an acceptable photo ID for voting? North Carolina registered voters can get one from their county board of elections using these instructions.


It is important to note that not all municipalities give the option to vote by mail. Check here to see if you can vote by mail at your voting site.

  • Absentee-by-mail voter ballots must be received by a voter's county board of elections by 5 p.m. on election day (see municipal election dates above).
  • If an absentee ballot is received after 5 p.m. on election day, it will only be counted if it is postmarked on or before election day. It must be received by mail no later than 5 p.m. on the Friday following the election.  
  • Ballots with no postmark must be received by election day
  • For the November 7 municipal election, ballots must be received by the Monday following the election due to Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 10, when there is no mail service.

Contact Jesse Pierre at jpierrepet@wcnc.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

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