Voters will be required to show an acceptable form of photo identification when they vote in the 2020 elections. Voters will be asked to include a copy of their photo identification when voting absentee by mail. These new requirements could lead to confusion and, to address this, officials from the North Carolina Board of Elections have held seminars across the state. Two were held on Wednesday in Lincolnton County.
Lincoln County has no elections scheduled for 2019, but throughout North Carolina, voter identification is not required in any election in 2019. These new requirements will begin with the presidential primary election set for March 3, 2020.
At the seminar held in Denver at the East Lincoln Community Center, Terry Harris, a training, learning and outreach specialist with the state board of elections, addressed the new voter identification laws, provisional ballots, voter registration and residency.
Acceptable photo identification includes:
A North Carolina driver license or non-operator identification, which must not be expired by more than one year.
A United States passport and passport card which cannot be expired by more than one year.
A United States military identification card. These cards have no expiration limits.
A federally recognized tribal card. These cards have no expiration limits.
An approved tribal enrollment card from a state recognized tribe. These cards have no expiration limits.
An approved student identification card from a state or private university or community college. An expiration date is not required for this card until 2021.
An approved employee identification card from a state or local government agency, public or charter school or public university. An expiration date is not required for this card until 2021.
A driver license or non-operator identification issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or commonwealth of the United States, but only if the voter’s registration was within 90 days of the election. This cannot be expired by more than one year.
If the voter is over the age of 65, an expired form of any acceptable identification is allowed provided the identification was not expired on the voter’s 65th birthday.
If a voter has none of these acceptable photo identification cards, a voter photo identification is provided free of charge by the county board of elections. In order to obtain one of these cards, the voter must provide their name, date of birth and last four digits of their social security number. This photo identification is valid for 10 years.
Voters will be allowed to vote with or without an acceptable form of photo identification but the vote will be done provisionally. A provisional ballot will count if the individual brings an acceptable photo identification to the county board of elections before canvass. Alternatively, an affidavit declaring that a reasonable impediment prevented the voter from showing a photo identification can be signed.
Reasonable impediments include lack of transportation, disability or illness, lack of birth certificate or other underlying documents required to obtain a photo identification, work schedule, family responsibilities, lost or stolen photo identification, photo identification applied for but not received, religious objections, natural disaster or other reasons described by the voter.
“No one will ever be turned away from the polls or told they cannot vote because they don’t have a photo identification,” Harris said. “Provisional ballots will offer every voter the opportunity to vote.”
In order to qualify to vote in North Carolina, a voter must be a citizen of the United States, live in the county of his or her registration and have resided there for at least 30 days to the date of election, must be at least 18 years old, must not be serving a sentence for a felony conviction, including probation or parole.