Elections officials explain voter ID requirements

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Dozens of residents attended an educational seminar about voter photo identification requirements held Tuesday afternoon at the Wilson County Board of Elections.

“Our job is to educate the public,” said Jessica Terrell of the N.C. State Board of Elections representative, who went through a presentation regarding the law.

Beginning in 2020, voters will be required to provide photo identification before they vote, which includes both in-person and by-mail voting, with some exceptions. This will start with the primary in March 2020.

In November, North Carolina voters approved an amendment to the N.C. Constitution to require voters to present photo ID at the polls. State law requires county elections boards to hold two voter ID seminars before Sept. 1. Wilson County held both sessions Tuesday.

State officials said they will work with county boards to determine specific needs on dispersing the information to the public and will also hold more seminars if election officials or local organizations request them. Residents here had many questions and concerns.

Here are some key highlights regarding Tuesday’s seminar:

Acceptable forms of photo ID

• N.C. driver’s license or non-operator ID (can’t be expired by more than a year).

• U.S. passport or passport card (can’t be expired by more than a year).

• U.S. military ID or U.S. veteran ID (expiration doesn’t matter).

• Tribal enrollment card issued by approved state tribe or a federal tribe if the card contains a photograph and expiration date.

• Approved student ID (visit state website for a list of approved schools). Those cards will need an expiration date eventually, but not until 2021.

• Approved employee ID (visit state website for a list of approved state or local government employers) No expiration date requirements until 2021.

• A driver’s license or a non-operator ID issued by another state if your registration is 90 days before the election (can’t be expired by more than a year)

• If a voter is over 65, there is a special provision. A voter over 65 can use an expired form of ID as long as the ID was good when the voter was 65 or older).

• North Carolina voter ID cards, which are available for free at county board of elections offices until the Friday before the election. Visit the Wilson County Board of Elections office at 112 Douglas St. to have a voter ID card made.


• Absentee voters are required to attach an acceptable form of photo ID with their absentee ballot. Voters unable to do that would sign an affidavit explaining the reason, such as an inability to photocopy a qualifying photo ID.


Everyone will be given the opportunity to vote whether they appear with a voter ID or not, officials said Tuesday.

If you don’t show your photo ID, you will vote provisionally. Your provisional vote will count as long as you come back to the county board of elections office and show a form of photo ID within the canvass window, which is 10 days.

State officials said this would apply to voters who may have forgotten their ID on Election Day.

Your provisional ballot will also count if you sign an affidavit declaring that a reasonable impediment prevented you from showing a photo ID, officials said. That can include lack of transportation, disability or illness, your work schedule or family responsibilities or lack of documents you would need to obtain a photo ID, including a birth certificate. Other impediments include a lost or stolen photo ID, the voter applied for a valid form of ID but the card hasn’t been received yet, religious objections to being photographed or loss of ID due to a natural disaster.

For more information on the voter ID requirement in North Carolina, visit www.ncsbe.gov/Voter-ID or contact the Wilson County Board of Elections by calling 252-399-2836 or emailing rmorris@wilson-co.com.

SOURCE: State Board of Elections presentation