County boards of elections in North Carolina will accept mail-in ballots received by Nov. 12, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week to uphold this deadline.

  • More New Bern Post election coverage here.

“Even with the deadline extension, we encourage voters to return their absentee ballot as soon as possible and ensure it is postmarked,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Please make sure your ballot is counted. Return it now.”

Through Oct. 28, about 273,000 voters who requested an absentee ballot have not yet voted in this election.

About 1.36 million voters requested absentee by-mail ballots. Of those voters, more than 852,000 (or 63 percent) have successfully returned their ballots. More than 233,000 voters (or 17 percent) have instead cast their ballot in person during the early voting period.

An absentee ballot is timely if it is received by the county board by 5 p.m. on Election Day, or is postmarked on or before Election Day and received by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12.

A ballot will be considered postmarked by Election Day if it has a postmark or if there is information in BallotTrax, or another tracking service offered by the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier, indicating that the ballot was in the custody of the Postal Service or the commercial carrier on or before Election Day.

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Other Ways to Return Your Ballot

Along with mailing an absentee ballot, voters may return their ballot, enclosed in the container return envelope, in person to their county board of elections office by 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters may not bring their ballot to an Election Day polling place.

For more on the extension of the absentee return deadline, read Numbered Memo 2020-22.

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