The 2016 presidential election is just around the corner – November will be here before you know it. Are you registered? Do you have an acceptable form of photo identification?
If you answered “No” to one or both of these questions, and plan to vote for a presidential and vice presidential candidate this November, please take a minute to read this post and look over the informational materials provided.
On August 12, 2013, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 589, the Voter Information Verification Act, into law. One of the primary purposes of this law is “to protect the right of each registered voter to cast a secure vote with reasonable security measures that confirm voter identity as accurately as possible without restriction . . . .”1 The law achieves this purpose by requiring voters to present photo identification prior to casting their vote. While the law imposes other restrictions on the voting process, such as reducing the number of early voting days, this post will focus solely on the photo identification requirement. The Bill can be found in its entirety at House Bill 589.
In order to vote, the voter must present (1) photo identification (2) with any reasonable resemblance to the voter (3) to a local election official at the voting place before voting. There are eight forms of acceptable identification that the voter may present to the election official. If you do not present a valid form of photo identification prior to casting your vote, you may cast a provisional ballot but will be required to subsequently appear in person at the county board of elections and either (1) present a valid form of photo identification or (2) present one of the following documents: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document, and declare you have a sincerely held religious objection to being photographed.1
All of this may sound very complicated and confusing, but in a nutshell – you, the voter, need a valid and acceptable form of identification to vote for the 2016 Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections as a North Carolina resident. Although the law is currently being challenged in Federal Court in North Carolina, it is in your best interest to be informed of the voter identification requirements if you wish to vote in November. Below you will find additional helpful links, information, and some Frequently Asked Questions regarding North Carolina’s photo identification requirements and how to register to vote in NC.