As elections administrators across North Carolina gear up for elections in 2023 and 2024, they will be tasked with implementing new photo ID rules for voting in person and absentee by mail.
Patrick Wike, Alexander County Elections Director, said photo ID for voting has been on a roller coaster ride in North Carolina. Photo ID legislation was first enacted by the NC General Assembly in 2013 and was first required in the 2016 primary election, but this legislation was struck down by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prior to the 2016 general election. In the 2018 general election, a statewide constitutional amendment requiring photo ID was passed with 55.49% of voters voting in favor of a photo ID requirement. The 2018 legislation implementing the photo ID constitutional requirement was later halted by courts in 2020 and had been stopped until the NC Supreme Court reheard the case in March 2023. The court reversed an injunction against the implementation of the photo ID legislation and ordered the case to be dismissed.
“This means beginning in the 2023 Taylorsville municipal election and looking onward to 2024 elections, voters will be asked to show photo ID when voting in North Carolina,” Wike stated.
In person voters will need to show an acceptable ID when they check in at their voting site during early voting or on election day. Voters who vote by mail must include a photo copy of an acceptable ID inside a photo ID envelope that comes with their ballot materials. Alternatively, by-mail voters may complete an ID exception form with the absentee ballot return envelope.
For most voters, they will simply show their NC driver’s license, which will be accepted if it is unexpired or expired for one year or less. Voters who are age 65 or older may use an expired form of acceptable ID if the ID was unexpired on their 65th birthday. Other common forms of acceptable ID include military or veterans ID cards issued by the federal government, and college student and public employer ID cards that the State Board of Elections has approved for use in voting. For a full list of acceptable forms of Photo ID for voting, visit the NC State Board of elections’ website at https://ncsbe.gov.
Registered voters who do not have any of the acceptable photo IDs can visit their county board of elections to obtain a free ID. To be issued a free voter photo ID card, the voter must provide their name, date of birth, and the last four numbers of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken. Additionally, any North Carolina resident can get a free non-drivers ID from the DMV. Wike said so far, there hasn’t been a huge demand for free photo ID cards in Alexander County, with less than five (5) people coming in to request one.
All voters will be allowed to vote with or without a photo ID. If a voter cannot show photo ID when voting in person, they can still vote by filling out an ID exception form. For absentee-by-mail voters, if they are unable to include a copy of their photo ID in the ballot return envelope, they can also fill out an ID exception form with their ballot.
For more information regarding voter ID, visit the NC State Board of Elections website at https://ncsbe.gov or contact the Alexander County Board of Elections at 828-632-2990.