Have voter ID questions? We've got answers

Ellen Colón with the North Carolina State Board of Elections gives a presentation on the new Voter ID law that goes into effect in 2020.

Last year, North Carolina voters approved an amendment to the state constitution requiring voters to show ID when they go to vote.

2020 will be the first year that voters will be required to show ID. However, the North Carolina State Board of Elections and county boards are required to hold two informational meetings on the new law before Sept. 1.

Ellen Colón, of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, gave the first of the seminars that will take place in Catawba County last week at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library.

Questions on some of the basics of the law are answered below. For more information, go to the state board voter ID page at   www.ncsbe.gov/Voter-ID .

What types of ID are acceptable?

Most common forms of ID will be accepted. These include:

»North Carolina driver’s license that is valid or expired for no more than a year

»Non-operator ID that is valid or expired for no more than a year

»Passport that is valid or expired for no more than a year 

»Student ID from approved public and private school in the state

»Military or veteran ID

» Employee ID for state or local government, public schools, charter schools and public universities

»Federal and state tribal IDs

The state is currently in the process of approving the list of tribal, student and employee cards that will be valid forms of ID for voting. The list is subject to change through Nov. 1.

A list of already-approved ID forms is available on the state board’s voter ID page.  The expiration date for the student and employee IDs will not be needed until 2021.

Voters who have moved to North Carolina and registered within 90 days of an election can use the driver’s license from their previous state as long as it is valid or expired for a year or less.

Voters over the age of 65 can use any form of approved ID as long as that ID was valid on the person’s 65th birthday.

What if I don’t have an ID?

People who want to vote but do not have one of the acceptable forms of ID can have an ID made at the county board of elections for free.

The person asking for the card will be required to give their name, age and the last four digits of their Social Security number. Once issued, the card will be valid for 10 years.

Voter ID cards can be requested at any time except between the end of early voting and election day.

What about voting absentee?

Absentee voters will have to attach a copy of a valid ID when they submit their ballots. This does not apply to military or other overseas voters.

Voters who cannot include a form of ID can fill out an affidavit citing a “reasonable impediment” that prevented them from doing so.

Reasonable impediments include disability, sickness, inability to get an ID because of loss of birth certificate or other documents, not having transportation, work schedule and family obligations.

A person who lost or had their ID stolen, or is waiting to receive a form of ID may also qualify for a reasonable impediment.

Can I vote without an ID?

Voters without an ID will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.

To ensure that the vote counts, voters will be asked to present an ID at the county board by end of business on the day before the board begins canvassing. Canvassing begins 10 days following the election.

The voter may also have their vote counted by qualifying for a reasonable impediment.

Are there any exemptions to the voter ID law?

There is an exemption for people who have religious objections to having their picture taken. Voters in officially-declared disaster areas are also exempt from the requirements.

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Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.

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