Know Your Rights: Voting in North Dakota

Voting is the cornerstone of democracy and a fundamental right. It all starts with knowing your rights at the ballot box.


The 2024 General Election: Tuesday, Nov. 5

  • Absentee voting for the 2024 General Election begins: Thursday, Sept. 26
  • Return your ballot by: 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4. (Can be postmarked Nov. 4.)

Local Elections

  • School District Elections: Between April 1 and June 30
    • Set at the discretion of the school board 

Here are a few ways you can be prepared to get your vote in easily, get your vote counted, and make sure your voice is heard in North Dakota:

  • Locate your polling place and note the hours of operation. 
  • Find out who and/or what is on your ballot before you go to the polls. 
  • Consider voting early or absentee if possible. If you plan to vote at the polls, go early in the day to avoid the last-minute rush.
  • Make sure your ID is valid and up to date. (More information under the Voter ID section)
  • If anyone challenges you about voting, don't get mad - get help or call the Election Protection Hotline at 866-687-8683
  • Remember, you are allowed to bring in a translator or any form of assistance that you require. 

More information

If you have problems voting or have additional questions, please call the national, non-partisan Election Protection Hotline:

  • English: 866-687-8683
  • Spanish: 888-839-8682
  • Arabic: 844-925-5287
  • Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 888-274-8683

Please note, this page is a resource, not legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. North Dakota may revise its laws after this page published online. If you believe your rights have been violated or for more information on your rights as a voter, contact us at or email​​​​​​

General voting information

A.General voting information


Basic requirements: You must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of North Dakota, have lived in a precinct for the 30 days before an election, and be 18 years of age or older. There is no voter registration, only proof of identification is required (see Voter ID laws).

Voting if you’re attending college: Students can vote in person in their hometown, in their college town (by updating their identification to reflect the residential address in the college town), or by absentee/mail for either home or college town. If voting in your college town and your ID has not been updated to your college town address, you must accompany your non-updated ID with your student ID and a printed supplemental document issued by your school (letterhead or official seal) with legal name, birthdate, and college town address.

Voting if unexpectedly hospitalized: When patients are unexpectedly hospitalized, they likely did not make arrangements to vote by regular absentee ballot. Emergency Absentee Ballots are used when a registered voter realizes that they will be unable to make it to the polls, but it is too late to apply for regular absentee ballots. 

Voting if you’re serving in the military or living overseas: Absentee/mail voting for military and overseas voters may be completed by either electronic or paper options.

Voting if you’re experiencing homelessness: You don’t need a home to vote, but you need to have a form of ND identification. A Relief Agency or Shelter Certification document can be used as supplemental documentation for valid IDs that do not have an updated or correct address.

Voting if you’re a new citizen: Citizenship must be verified with the ND Department of Transportation. If “permanent” or “temporary” is listed on your state ID, you need to update it before Election Day to properly reflect your US Citizen status. You will need one of the following when visiting a Department of Transportation location to get an updated ID: valid, unexpired U.S. Passport or Card, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of Citizenship.

Voting with assistance: You are allowed to have a friend, guardian, or trusted person assist you at the poll in voting. Bringing someone to interpret. 

Voting if formerly incarcerated: If you aren't currently incarcerated for a felony conviction, you can vote. This includes people on probation or parole. 

Moving and name changes: You must be a resident of your voting precinct for at least 30 days prior to the election.

  • If you moved less than 30 days before the election, you won’t be able to vote at that precinct (but should be able to vote in your previous precinct in person or by mail).
  • If you moved at least 30 days before the election and have updated your address on your ID you can vote in the election in the precinct of your new residence.
  • North Dakotans are able to update their address information via the Department of Transportation’s website, You don’t necessarily need to get a new ID to vote, updating your information with the DOT is sufficient.
  • Updating your ID ahead of Election Day is preferred, however if you are unable to do so, another document displaying a residential address may be provided to the election official, such as:
    • A current utility bill
    • A current bank statement
    • A check issued by a federal, state, local, or tribal government
    • A paycheck
    • A document issued by a federal, state, local, or tribal government

Voting on Election Day

A.Voting on Election Day


Election Day: Hours of polling places in North Dakota vary by county. Find schedules online.

Finding your polling location: Hours in North Dakota may vary by county, most polling locations are open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Find your location’s schedule at

If you are running late: You have the right to vote if you’re in line or inside your polling place when the polls close. Once handed a ballot after the polls close you only have 30 minutes to cast your vote.

Getting time off: If your work schedule would make it practically impossible for you to vote in-person while the polls are open, your employer is encouraged by state law to give you time off to vote, however time off may be without pay. Ask your employer for time off before Election Day and confirm the hours you get off.

Voting early, absentee, or by mail

A.Voting early, absentee, or by mail


Can I vote before Election Day? Yes, any person eligible to vote can do so, on or before Election Day by absentee or mail ballot or by casting a ballot in person at an early voting center.

How do I get an absentee/mail ballot? Any qualified voter is eligible vote absentee/by mail without excuse. Applications for absentee/mail ballots may be submitted anytime within the calendar year of an election.

  • Get an application for an absentee ballot at
  • Applications will be returned for correction if application data does not match the information in the state’s central voter file.
  • Ballots must be postmarked the day prior to the election or returned to a secure ballot box by 5 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Signature on returned ballot envelop must match application signature or the voter will be contacted for verification.
  • Absentee/mail ballot status may be tracked at

Early voting locations

A.Early voting locations


Not all counties allow early voting: Find out where and when you can vote early.

When you arrive make sure to have your state issued ID or other acceptable identification.

Voter ID laws

A.Voter ID laws


All voters who appear at polling places must show proof of identification with a residential address (P.O. Boxes will not be accepted).

Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • North Dakota driver’s license or non-driver ID
  • A North Dakota long-term care ID certificate
  • Tribal ID (including those issued by BIA for a tribe located in North Dakota, any other tribal agency or entity, or any other document that sets forth the tribal member’s name, date of birth, and current North Dakota residential address)

You have a right to vote by Set-Aside Ballot

  • If your ID has not been updated or you forget your ID or supplemental documents, you can vote using a “set-aside” ballot. If you vote this way, you must present proper ID to the County Auditor in person or electronically before the meeting of the County Canvassing Board thirteen days after the election. Information will be provided to voters using set-aside ballots.

Common questions

A.Common questions


What if I make a mistake on the ballot? 

  • It happens. You can request a new ballot from the poll worker.

What if someone tries to intimidate or harrass me? 

  • Tell a poll worker. If a poll worker is the problem, tell a poll watcher, call your county auditor. 

If I don’t have an ID for voting, where do I get one?  

  • ND Department of Transportation (DOT) driver’s license – Licensing Sites.
  • DOT Nondriver’s ID cards – Provided at no cost.
  • Tribal government issued identification (including those issued by BIA for a tribe located in North Dakota, any other tribal agency or entity, or any other document that sets forth the tribal member’s name, date of birth, and current North Dakota residential address).
  • Long term care identification certificate (provided by North Dakota facility).

What if my ID doesn’t have my current residential address?

  • Most ND driver’s licenses and nondriver ID cards can be updated at no cost by calling the DOT at 701-328-4353 or online. The card itself does not need to be replaced, notifying DOT is enough.
  • Tribal IDs are updated with your tribal office. In this case the ID must be replaced.
  • Please note, this brochure is a resource, not legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. North Dakota may revise its laws after this card is printed or published online.
  • If you believe your rights have been violated or for more information on your rights as a voter, contact us at or email

Get involved

A.Get involved


Become a precinct worker. Precinct workers are key players in running polling places on Election Day. This paid position is recruited by your County Auditor. Find out more by contacting your County Auditor.

Become a poll watcher. Contact the ACLU of North Dakota by emailing for more information.