Absentee voting for North Carolina residents just got a little easier.  On August 28, 2009, Governor Perdue signed a unanimously passed bill that

  • Allows more time for absentee voters to receive and return their ballots
  • Reduces the number of witnesses
  • Allows for special procedures to be implemented if military voters cannot reasonably meet the absentee voting requirements due to an emergency situation

Ten additional days have been added to the mailing time of absentee ballots.  Ballots for statewide general elections will be mailed out 60 days prior to the election.  This was previously set at 50 days.

Absentee ballots can now be counted if received after the election.  Ballots for military personnel will be counted if received not later than three days after the election by 5pm.   Non Military absentee voters must have the ballots postmarked by the day of the election but they will also be counted if received by 5pm on the third day after the election.  Previously all ballots had to be received by 5pm on the day before the election.

Where two witnesses were required on an absentee ballot, only one witness is now required.

The State Board of Election can prescribe special procedures when absent uniformed service or overseas voters cannot meet the requirements of the law due to an international, national, or local emergency or other situation.

In addition to the changes in law, the NC SBOE has requested that the Department of Defense agree to designate itself as a voter registration agency.  This would allow military personnel to keep their voter registration updated and get help in obtaining a ballot and getting that ballot returned.