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AARP AARP States North Dakota Voters

How to Vote and Track Your Ballot in North Dakota

En español | North Dakota is the only state that doesn’t require voter registration. Any registered voter may cast an absentee/mail ballot, but only some counties offer early in-person voting.

The 2022 midterms decided races for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, state Legislature and several state offices. The next statewide election is in 2024, with municipal elections being held that same year.

North Dakota Ranks First In New Cases Per Capita
A man places a ballot in a drop box in Fargo.
Dan Koeck/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Essential info:

    • Upcoming elections: Visit the secretary of state’s website for information about upcoming statewide elections. 
    • Absentee voting: North Dakota lets any eligible voter request an absentee/mail ballot and vote from home. 
    • Early in-person voting: County commissions decide whether to offer early in-person voting. Dates and times vary among counties.
    • Voting at the polls: You must provide acceptable identification that includes your name, current residential address and date of birth. If your ID doesn’t include your address, you can supplement it with another document.

    Have there been any recent changes to voting in North Dakota?

    Redistricting in 2021 has redrawn the boundaries of certain state House and Senate districts. A lawsuit over the legislative districts is pending.

    Do I need to register to vote?

    North Dakota does not require voter registration. Any eligible voter (U.S. citizens 18 and older who live in North Dakota and have lived in a specific precinct for at least 30 days) may vote if they provide acceptable identification. Options include a state-issued driver’s license, nondriver’s ID card, tribal ID or long-term care ID certificate.

    ​​Does my party affiliation matter when I vote?

    No, but voters may only cast ballots for candidates from one political party in the primary.

    How can I get an absentee/mail ballot?

    Any eligible voter in North Dakota may request an absentee/mail ballot. You’ll need to submit a new application each year, but you can choose to receive them for multiple elections in that year if your address does not change.

    Apply for an absentee ballot by mail or in person. 

    • In person: Visit your county auditor's office. Mark and return your ballot while there, or take it home and return it by mail or in person.

    You can also fax your absentee ballot application or attach a scanned copy to an email and send it to your county auditor’s office. 

    Mail your absentee ballot application at least 10 days in advance of Election Day; otherwise it is recommended to hand-deliver your ballot to avoid mail delays.

    How do I submit an absentee/mail ballot during an election?

    • By mail: The return envelope must be postmarked with proper postage and arrive at your county auditor’s office by the deadlines listed at Vote.ND.Gov.
    • In person: Deliver your ballot to your county auditor’s office or a drop box, if available. Drop box locations will be listed at Vote.ND.Gov under the County Drop Boxes tab.
    • Through an agent: Someone else can return your ballot for you if you submit an Agent Authorization request form. You can only act as an agent for four other voters per election.

    Can I track my absentee ballot?

    Yes — use the state’s absentee/mail ballot tracker.

    Can I vote in person before Election Day?

    County commissions decide whether to offer early in-person voting. Locations, dates and times will be available at Vote.ND.Gov closer to an election. Enter your address and zip code into the My Voting Information sidebar.

    What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?

    Check when and where to cast your ballot on the state's My Voting Information portal.

    Do I need identification to vote?

    Yes. Identification must include your name, current North Dakota residential address and date of birth. A state-issued driver’s license, nondriver’s ID card, tribal ID or long-term care ID certificate is acceptable.

    If your ID does not include your residential address or date of birth, or your residential address is not current, you can supplement the ID with another document, such as a current utility bill, current bank statement or a check. 

    If you are unable to show a valid form of ID but qualify to vote, you can mark a ballot that will be securely set aside. You must then either present valid ID at the polling place on Election Day or at your county auditor’s office by the deadline listed at Vote.ND.Gov.

    Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 23 with more information about voting in North Dakota. The guide was first published on July 20, 2020. 

    Also of Interest:

    About AARP North Dakota
    Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.