IMPORTANT—Information about Resident Absentee Voting from the NC State Board of Elections
Facility workers prohibited from assisting
Owners, managers, directors, and employees of hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, or rest homes (“facilities”) are legally prohibited from assisting their patients or residents with absentee voting. Assistance includes making a request for an absentee ballot, serving as a witness for the voter, marking the voter’s absentee ballot or assisting the voter in marking an absentee ballot, or assisting the voter with filling out the envelope. Violation of this law is a Class I felony [N.C.G.S. § 163-226.3].
Who can assist a voter in a facility
- A voter may receive assistance from a near relative (spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild) or legal guardian.
- A voter may also receive assistance from a “Multipartisan Assistance Team” (MAT). Each county has a MAT, which helps ensure facility residents are provided lawful, impartial assistance in voting. Persons selected to participate in these teams are trained to serve impartially and to avoid any suggestion or appearance of bias for or against candidates or issues. MATs are authorized to help voters register to vote, request a ballot, serve as a witness, mark the ballot at the voter’s direction, and seal and return the ballot, as requested by the voter.
- The law requires that MATs be available upon request of the facility. If a facility, or a patient or resident of the facility, requests a visit from a MAT, the county board of elections must schedule the visit within seven days if it is able to do so. If the county board of elections is unable to schedule the visit within seven days, the voter can receive assistance from any person who is not disqualified from assisting. The following individuals are disqualified from assisting voters:
- An owner, manager, director, or employee of the facility.
- An individual who holds elective office.
- An individual who is a candidate for office.
- An individual who holds any office in a State, congressional district, county, or precinct political party or organization, or who is a campaign manager or treasurer for any candidate or political party. A delegate to a convention is not considered a party office.
Requesting a MAT visit
Who can be a witness
Any person may serve as a witness except those who are disqualified from assisting the voter. This means that a voter may ask another resident of the facility to be their witness provided that person is at least 18 years old and is not disqualified from assisting the voter as outlined above.
Delivering the ballot
Only the voter or the voter’s near relative or legal guardian may possess an absentee ballot or return it to the county board of elections. If, due to a disability the voter is unable to mail their ballot, a person who is not disqualified from assisting may, upon the voter’s request, take the voter’s completed absentee ballot to the closest U.S. mail depository or mailbox.
North Carolina Assisted Living Association