- Published on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:57
- Written by Super User
RALEIGH, N.C. : January 2, 2014 - In accordance with a new state law passed during the 2013 legislative session, the State of North Carolina began issuing no-fee voter identification cards on January 2.
Beginning in 2016, North Carolina will require voters to have a valid photo ID to cast a ballot when voting in person.
A list of photo ID that will be acceptable for voting is available on the State Board of Elections’ website. No-fee ID cards are available for people who have no other valid forms of photo identification.
Applications for no-fee voter ID cards can be made at any North Carolina DMV driver license office.
Applicants will need to present documents that verify their age and identity. Applicants will also need to provide a valid Social Security number. NCDMV has posted the requirements and documents acceptable for the Voter ID card on its website. Voter ID cards are mailed to applicants within 10 to 15 days following application.
Under the leadership of Commissioner Kelly Thomas, the Division of Motor Vehicles conducted five rehearsals and training sessions over the past three weeks for all examiners and information technology personnel to ensure the examiners and IT professionals are trained in the procedures to issue voter identification to all North Carolinians seeking that form of ID.
Governor Pat McCrory signed HB 589, commonly referred to as Voter Photo ID, into law on August 12th, 2013. This law will help ensure the integrity of the North Carolina ballot box and provide greater equality in access to voting to North Carolinians.
“North Carolinians overwhelmingly support a common sense law that requires voters to present photo identification in order to cast a ballot. I am proud to sign this legislation into law. Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote,” said Governor McCrory.
According to the Governor's Administration, North Carolina joins the majority of states in adopting this and other election reform provisions with 34 states requiring some form of ID to vote. The photo ID requirement will go into effect for the 2016 elections.
According to the Governor's office in a statement issued in August, North Carolinians overwhelmingly supported the legislation:
• A March Elon University poll showed 72 percent of North Carolinians support photo-ID at the polls.
• A March Civitas Institute poll showed 67 percent support.
• An April Survey USA poll showed 75 percent overall support for voter-photo identification.
“While some will try to make this seem to be controversial, the simple reality is that requiring voters to provide a photo ID when they vote is a common sense idea,” said Governor McCrory. “This new law brings our state in line with a healthy majority of other states throughout the country. This common sense safeguard is common-place.”
A valid North Carolina driver’s license, U.S. passport and various military IDs are among the acceptable forms of photo identification. A voter can also obtain a state-issued photo-ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles at no charge. If a voter comes to the polls without a photo-ID, they can still cast a provisional ballot.
The hours available to cast an early ballot remain the same and there will be 10 days for voters to cast their ballot early. The law requires county board of elections to calculate the number of early voting hours offered in the 2012 presidential and the 2010 non-presidential voting years. The same amount of early voting hours in those years must be made available in presidential and non-presidential elections going forward. Also, all early voting sites within a county must have the same days and hours of operation. North Carolina will join the majority of states and the District of Columbia that require voters to cast a ballot for a candidate, and not for a political party, by not allowing straight-ticket voting.
According to the Governor's office, "This new law also aligns North Carolina with the majority of states (37) that do not allow a person to register and vote on the same day. This law will also remove the bureaucratic burden of having to re-certify the address and other identifying information for under-age voters by doing away with pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds. North Carolina was one of only eight states with the practice of “registering” teenagers too young to vote. This law will also seek to reduce the “pay-to-play” culture of politics by placing additional campaign finance restrictions on lobbyists. Lobbyists are now prohibited from delivering even a single campaign contribution to candidates."
According to ncvoter.org - a group opposing the new legislation - there are several court cases addressing various aspects of the law that have been filed. In federal court:
• In League of Women Voters v. North Carolina (13-CV-660) , the plaintiffs challenge the reduction in early voting days, the elimination of same-day registration and the requirement that voters cast their ballots in their precinct rather than accepting provisional ballots as discriminatory and in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.
• In addition, in NAACP v. McCrory (13-CV-658), the plaintiffs also challenge the voter photo identification requirements and allege that the change in the number of poll monitors and voter challenge procedures “increases the likelihood of voter harassment....”
• In United States v. North Carolina (13-CV-861) (which has a lot of interesting statistics), the Department of Justice also challenges the photo ID requirement and the early voting, same-day registration and provisional ballot sections.
And, in North Carolina court:
• In Currie v. North Carolina (13-CV-1419), the plaintiffs—which include the League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute—challenge the requirement that voters have photo identification as a violation of the North Carolina constitution as interpreted in previous NC Supreme Court rulings.
Sources: North Carolina Department of Transportation; NC Office of the Governor; and ncvoter.org