GOT ID, NC?
In North Carolina, you can vote with or without an ID.
You need to show an acceptable photo ID to vote with a regular ballot inside the polls, but if you don’t have one there are other options described below.
Here’s the list of acceptable photo IDs:
- NC driver’s license, learner’s permit or provisional license
- NC special identification card for non-drivers
- US passport
- US military ID or veteran ID card
- Tribal enrollment card from a federally or NC recognized tribe
- Out-of-state driver’s license but only for 90 days after the voter registers in North Carolina.
If you do not have one of these IDs, you may obtain a “free” photo ID from the NC Division of Motor Vehicles by following the directions under “How to Get It.” Additional options are described below.
What if my ID is expired?
- A NC driver’s license or other ID from the NC DMV may be used for voting for up to 4 years after it expires.
- A military ID does not need an expiration date to use for voting.
- A tribal card is good for up to 8 years after the issuance date to use for voting.
- A US passport must be current to use for voting.
- Exception: Voters over age 70 can use one of the acceptable IDs that is expired as long as it was current on their 70th birthday.
The address on the ID card does not matter. (The ID is to prove your identity, not your residency.) However, the name on your ID should bear a “reasonable resemblance” to your name on the voter registration roll. The three senior poll officials (called precinct judges) must ALL agree that it does not for the ID to fail. If they agree it does not, you may vote a “challenge ballot” and follow the process under “What if I don’t have the right ID?” to make sure your ballot will count.
Check now to see if your name on your license or acceptable ID matches your name on the county’s voter registration roll. Go to www.demnc.co/myreg and follow the directions to see how your name appears on the registration roll. Or go to www.demnc.co/myboard, call your county board of elections, and ask them to tell you exactly how your name appears on the registration roll. Current law allows a registered voter to change his or her name on the registration roll at the polls, during Early Voting or on Election Day. But it’s best to make the change well before the election and be confident you have an acceptable ID to vote.
Who is exempt from showing an ID at the polls?
(1) Curbside voters – people eligible to vote from the curb because they have difficulty reaching the voting room because they have difficulty reaching the voting room without assistance from another person because of “age or a physical disability.” You will need to swear or affirm that you have this difficulty by checking a box on a form when you vote.
(2) Religious objection – people who have religious reasons for not wanting to be photographed. This declaration must be made at least 25 days before Election Day with the county board of elections. Contact your county board for details: demnc.co/myboard.
These voters must show an acceptable photo ID or a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or any government document with their name and current address, like a letter, bill, registration card, or statement of benefits.
In addition, a voter in a jurisdiction that has been declared a natural disaster by the President or Governor may sign a declaration and vote a regular ballot without showing a photo ID.
What if I don’t have the right ID?
You have 3 choices if you don’t have an acceptable ID and you don’t use a curbside or religious exemption.
Option 1: Get a “no-fee state ID.” You may apply for a free ID card from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Two documents that may be used to get the ID are free from a county register of deeds: a NC birth certificate and NC marriage certificate. Follow the directions below under “How to Get It.”
Option 2: No ID? Vote absentee! You can vote by mail and not show a photo ID. No excuse is needed and any registered voter may do this. You must use an authorized form to request an absentee ballot; go to demnc.co/absform. On the form, include an identifying number (e.g., last 4 digits of your Social Security number) or send an identifying document. Read the instructions carefully and be sure to sign the form. For more about voting by mail see demnc.co/mail.
Option 3: Vote at the polls with a special provisional ballot. Ask for this at the polls. It will count if you check a box on an affidavit form that indicates why you don’t have an acceptable ID (a “reasonable impediment”) AND (1) write in your birth date and last 4 digits of your Social Security number OR (2) show a registration card, utility bill, pay stub, bank statement or any government document with your name/address. A “reasonable impediment” for not having ID may be: busy work or school schedule, lost ID, family duties, lack of transportation, lack of birth certificate, etc. Don’t give a frivolous reason or mock the law (e.g., don’t say, “because I oppose ID law”).
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