Need an ID to Vote in NC?
Beginning in 2020, North Carolina voters will be required to provide photo identification when voting in-person or absentee-by-mail, with some exceptions. This requirement is not in place for any election in 2019. (SESSION LAW 2019-4, signed by governor on March 14, 2019.)
In the 2018 general election, 55 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring photo ID to vote in North Carolina. Subsequently, the N.C. General Assembly approved SESSION LAW 2018-144, which implements the constitutional requirement for voter photo ID.
The new ID law for 2020 would “require” voters to show an acceptable photo ID – but also has exceptions so people can vote in person without one.
ACCEPTABLE IDs. The law says voters should show one of these photo IDs when they vote in person; the ID can be expired for up to one year:
- NC driver’s license;
- Photo ID from your county board of elections; it will be free to registered voters who give last 4 digits of their Social Security # and birthdate (there may be other requirements, as well); and is good for 10 years;
- Non-driver’s ID from NC DMV; it’s free to citizens who show a birth certificate and other documents;
- US passport;
- Enrollment card from a US or NC recognized tribe;
- Student ID from a NC private or public college or community college that follows strict procedures for issuing ID cards, under State Board of Election rules; after 2020, the card must have an expiration date;
- NC state or local government employee ID card issued under strict procedures; cards issued after the 2020 election must have an expiration date;
- US military or veterans card, even if it does not have an expiration date;
- Driver’s license from another state, but only good for 90 days after the person registers to vote in NC.
- If you have an acceptable, unexpired ID at age 65, it’s good for life– its expiration no longer matters.
- The address on your ID does not matter; the law says ID is only used to prove who you are, not where you live.
- Mail-in absentee voters must send a copy of an identity document with their ballot request or with the returned ballot; rules will clarify how this works.
EXCEPTIONS IF YOU HAVE NO ID AT THE POLLS
- You can vote a provisional ballot, but then you must take an acceptable ID to your county elections board by the day before election results are certified (canvass day);
- You can vote a provisional ballot and not show any ID at the polls IF:
- you have a religious objection to being photographed and sign an affidavit affirming your identity;
- you live in an area with a natural disaster declared by the president or governor within 100 days of Election Day and you sign an identity affidavit;
- you sign an identity affidavit and give a reason for not having an acceptable ID. The form for stating a “reasonable impediment” includes such reasons as lack of transportation, disability or illness, work schedule, ID lost or stolen, and “other” with a blank line to fill in. Rules must clarify what’s an acceptable reason.