Important Voting Information: View a Sample Ballot Lookup Tool and Volunteer at the Polls

By Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

As the U.S. general election draws near, here are a few tips for preparing for election day and volunteering if you want to work at the polls.

Important Dates

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. The deadline to register online to vote is Friday, October 9, 2020. The deadline for registering by mail to vote is Friday, October 9, 2020 (registration must be postmarked by this date). The deadline to register in person to vote is Friday, October 9, 2020.

After the regular voter registration deadline of Friday, October 9, 2020, you can register and vote in person at one-stop sites during the early voting period, which runs from Thursday, October 15, 2020 to Saturday, October 31, 2020.

This process is known as same-day registration. Same-day registrants must attest to their eligibility and provide proof of residence. Within two business days, the county board of elections will review the registration and the registrant’s address. Your vote will be counted unless the county board of elections determines that you are not qualified to vote.

The deadline to request a ballot by mail is Tuesday, October 27, 2020 (requests must be received by this date).

The early voting period runs from Thursday, October 15, 2020 to Saturday, October 31, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

Viewing Your Sample Ballot 

Did you know that you can view your sample ballot on the NC State Board of Elections website and start investigating some of your voting options before you head to the polls or the mailbox? By viewing your sample ballot, you can see all the candidates for each office and be better prepared to cast an informed vote.

You can find your sample ballot by going here:

Search for your name and then scroll down and you’ll see a section for sample ballots. Click on your sample ballot and you’ll be able to view all of the applicable candidates for the upcoming election in your particular area.

Volunteering at the Polls 

The State Board encourages voters of all ages to lend a hand to the democratic process in this important presidential election year. Election workers often consist of retirees and older members of a community — groups at higher risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By becoming an election official, you can be a hero for democracy.

North Carolina election officials are searching for volunteers to help at polling places and voting sites for the November 2020 general election. Volunteers will protect democracy, learn about the elections process, serve their communities and receive payment for their dedication to elections.

Election officials operate the polls during early voting and on Election Day by providing services such as setting up the voting equipment, checking in voters, processing ballots, assisting voters with special needs, and closing down/securing the voting site at the end of the day. To qualify to work as an election official, the applicant must be a registered voter who resides in the precinct where they wish to serve. In 2020 only, due to the need to attract more election workers, some workers may work out of their home precinct.

Please check your voter registration status.

The State Board is committed to protecting election workers’ health and safety. Appropriate protective equipment will be provided, and social distancing guidelines will be enforced at polling places this year.

If you’re interested in becoming an election worker for 2020, let the State Board of Elections know by completing the election worker interest survey.

The NCSBE will forward the information you provide to your county board of elections. You may also contact your county board of elections directly to apply.

Alicia Mitchell-Mercer, LPP, ACP, RP, NCCP, SCCP is a senior paralegal, legal project manager, and consultant in Charlotte, N.C. She has a B.S. in Paralegal Studies and a M.S. in Project Management. She is a certified paralegal through the NC State Bar, SC Bar, NALA, and NFPA and a certified Legal Project Practitioner through the International Institute of Legal Project Management. Alicia is the Technology Committee Chair and Communications Co-chair of the North Carolina Bar Association, Paralegal Division; and volunteers with the NC Guardian ad Litem program. Email:; LinkedIn: