Elections board providing education about Voter ID

Posted 5/23/19

Voter ID in North Carolina won’t be required until the 2020 primary election, but the Chatham County Board of Elections is getting prepared.

The board, in conjunction with the state board, held …

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Elections board providing education about Voter ID

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Posted

Voter ID in North Carolina won’t be required until the 2020 primary election, but the Chatham County Board of Elections is getting prepared.

The board, in conjunction with the state board, held informational sessions for the public on Voter ID requirements on Monday. The requirement for a photo identification in order to vote was added to the North Carolina Constitution via a vote of a majority of North Carolinians in 2018. The legislature quickly drew up and passed legislation outlining what Voter ID requirements would be shortly afterward. Implementation was delayed early this year to ensure the State Board of Elections would be able to fully implement the law considering two required special elections — the 3rd Congressional District left vacant after the death of long-time Congressman Walter Jones, and the 9th Congressional District which was not certified by the board after charges of potential fraud with absentee ballots.

In elections later this year, N.C. voters will be asked whether they have a identification that would qualify under the 2020 provisions. They’ll also be provided with information on Voter ID, but it won’t be required to cast a vote. Then, starting next year, voters will be required to provide one of the eight approved forms of identification with some stipulations.

Anyone can vote with a valid N.C. driver license or non-operator license. The license cannot be expired for more than a year from the date the voter is trying to cast their vote. The law is similar for U.S. Passport holders; a passport is accepted as Voter ID so long as it is expired for less than a year. The law is also similar for a Tribal Enrollment Card, but only for a state recognized tribe. A voter also use a driver license or non-operator ID from another state, but only if the person registered in his or her location less than 90 days from the election. A military ID or veterans ID can be used regardless of its expiration date.

Some state or local government IDs and student IDs can be used under the Voter ID law. They must be valid or be within a year past its expiration. However, not all government or school IDs have been approved by the legislature. For example, neither a Central Carolina Community College ID nor a UNC-Chapel Hill ID, for either students or staff, will be accepted as a form of identification at the polls. The N.C. Board of Elections has a listing of government and college IDs that qualify.

There is an exception in the Voter ID law for persons over the age of 65. They will still be required to show one of the forms of identification, but it will be accepted if it’s expired as long as the ID would have been valid when the voter was 65. There is also an “ID of last resort” option for those that don’t have one of the accepted forms of identification. Any voter can visit the Chatham County Board of Elections office in Pittsboro, located at 984 Thompson St., Suite D (across from the YMCA) where they are registered and request a Voter ID Card at no charge. Any registered voter can fill out a request form and a basic photo identification card can be handed to the voter on the spot, barring any discrepancies in the information provided by the voter. The Voter ID Card lasts 10 years and is valid anywhere in the state as long as the voter registers to vote where they live.

Registered voters without a valid identification under the Voter ID law will be offered a provisional ballot when they vote. The vote will remain uncounted until the voter brings the appropriate identification to the County’s Board of Elections Office prior to the canvassing period or about 10 days after the election.

Voters without a valid ID can also choose to sign an affidavit, under penalty of law, stating they were unable to obtain an ID. Acceptable reasons for not having an ID include lack of transportation, disability or illness, lack of birth certificate or other documents required for obtaining an ID, work schedule, family responsibilities, lost or stolen ID, photo ID applied for but not received, or another reason to be described by the voter. A voter may also fill out an affidavit if they don’t have an ID because of a religious objection or a natural disaster within 100 days of the election.

Voters using absentee by mail to vote will be required to include a photocopy or other reproduction of their accepted identification with their ballot. Those voters who are unable to do so may also use an affidavit similar to an in-person voter to does not have an ID.

The Voter ID information session held on Monday evening was recorded by the Chatham County Board of Elections with the goal of placing it online on its website for voters who were unable to attend to use and view.

Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.

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