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Orange County Ensuring Safe Voting during Pandemic

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020
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Note: The following information was compiled from information distributed by Orange County. For additional information, contact the Orange County Board of Elections.

Orange County is working to make sure you can vote safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s some information you should know on voter registration deadlines, absentee ballot processes, and more in this election cycle.

Safety measures

“We are doing all we can to ensure you can vote safely in Orange County,” Orange County Elections Director Rachel Raper said.

Each voting location during early voting and on Election Day will feature enhanced cleaning protocols, social distancing, single-use pens and single-use cotton swabs for voters. Due to federal voting laws, voters will be asked but not required to wear masks. Any voter who doesn’t have a mask will be offered one. See the Orange County Board of Elections’ Safe Voting page or the Voting Safely graphic below for additional information.

See a video about the voting process in Orange County for the upcoming presidential election. The video features the six early voting sites and a demonstration of the safety protocols that will be in place during early voting and on Election Day. The video is available in English, Spanish and Chinese and can be found on the Orange County Public Library’s YouTube channel.  

By-mail voter registration

This Friday, Oct. 9, is the final day to register to vote should you wish to vote on Election Day or by absentee ballot. The registration deadline for those votes is 25 days prior to an election. By 5 p.m. Oct. 9, applications must be delivered to the Orange County Board of Elections or postmarked.

  • Physical address: 208 S. Cameron St. in Hillsborough
  • Mailing address: Orange County Board of Elections, PO Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278

You can check whether you are registered to vote through the North Carolina Board of Elections website.

Same-day voter registration

Same-day voter registration is available during the early voting period at all early voting sites. If you plan to complete same-day registration, you must bring a valid form of government identification and must vote during the early voting period rather than on Election Day. The valid form of identification does not need to be a photo ID, but it must show residence in Orange County.

Absentee voting requests

Registered voters who do not wish to vote in person can vote by mail. To request a ballot, choose one of the following:

  • Make a request through the North Carolina Board of Elections’ online absentee request portal by 5 p.m.  Oct. 27.
  • Complete the State Absentee Ballot Request form, carefully following instructions on the form. The request must be signed by the voter or by a near relative who is making the request on behalf of the voter. Deliver completed requests to the Orange County Board of Elections.

The State Absentee Ballot Request form can be delivered to the Orange County Board of Elections in these ways:

  • Mail ― Orange County Board of Elections, PO Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
  • Email ― vote@orangecountync.gov
  • Fax ― 919-644-3318
  • Office ― 208 S. Cameron St. in Hillsborough

The county began mailing absentee ballots Sept. 4. Voters who receive a mailed absentee ballot may still vote in person on Election Day or during early voting as long as the mailed absentee ballot was not returned.

Absentee voting

Absentee ballots must be returned to the Orange County Board of Elections by 5 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 3. An extension is given for ballots postmarked by Election Day and received in the Board of Elections office by Nov. 6, the Friday following the election. Absentee ballots will not be accepted on Election Day at the polls.

A by-mail absentee voter must have one witness in the voter’s presence as the voter completes the ballot and application envelope.

“The primary reason absentee ballots are not accepted is due to missing signatures ― either the witness or the voter,” the Orange County elections director said. “Should there be an issue with the acceptance of a ballot, our office will contact the voter within one business day.”

Absentee ballots may be returned:

  • Immediately to the Board of Elections office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. On weather-permitting days, staff will have a tent outside to accept returned absentee ballots. On other days, staff will assist in the office hallway.
  • At an early voting site during early voting hours.

Voters who vote by mail can check whether their ballot has been received by:

Voters are discouraged from visiting their polling place on Election Day to check the status of their absentee ballot. It is against the law to take both of these actions: mail an absentee ballot and attempt to vote in person.

Early voting

Early voting will be open Oct. 15-31 at six locations in Orange County. Orange County residents may choose to vote at any one of the early voting sites. The Orange County Board of Elections Office will not serve as an early voting site this year.

  • In Hillsborough ― Orange Works at Hillsborough Commons, 113 Mayo St.
  • In Carrboro ― Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St.
  • In Chapel Hill ―
    • Chapel of the Cross, 304 E. Franklin St.
    • Seymour Senior Center, 2551 Homestead Road
    • University Mall, 201 S. Estes Drive
  • In Efland ― Efland Ruritan Club, 3009 Forrest Ave.

All early voting locations will be open the same dates and hours.

  • Weekdays ― 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays ― 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sundays ― noon to 5 p.m.

Election Day

On Election Day, Nov. 3, you can cast your vote at your home precinct. Visit the Orange County Board of Elections website to confirm your home precinct. Polls will be open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Critical dates

This is a reminder of critical dates for this election cycle:

  • Oct. 9 ― Voter registration applications must be delivered or postmarked by 5 p.m. if you wish to vote on Election Day or by absentee ballot.
  • Oct. 15 ― Early voting begins in Orange County.
  • Oct. 27 ― Requests for absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 31 ― Early voting ends at 3 p.m.
  • Nov. 3 ― Election Day polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Absentee ballots can be hand-delivered to the Orange County Board of Elections until 5 p.m. Absentee ballots may not be returned to Election Day polling places. Absentee ballots returned via mail must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 6 to be considered timely.

Related documents


Document Voting Safely information graphic  

Document Every Vote Counts information graphic  

Document Early Voting Schedule (English)  

Document Early Voting Schedule (Spanish)