Beginning in 2016, North Carolina will require voters to show a photo identification (photo ID) when they vote in person. This change is a result of the Voter Information Verification Act or "VIVA." (S.L. 2013-381). Until 2016, most voters will not be required to show any form of identification when they vote.
Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
Before 2016, there are certain voters who will be required to show some form of identification when they present to vote - either "in person" or when voting "by mail." First-time voters, who, at the time of their initial voter registration did not provide their North Carolina driver license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number, or who provided a number that could not be validated, will be required to show identification when they vote. This identification does not have to be a photo ID. The requirement for first-time voters to show identification is a requirement of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, a federal law not unique to North Carolina.
Acceptable forms of HAVA ID include:
First-time voters who are required to show HAVA ID will have been notified of this requirement by their county board of elections. First-time voters who are required to show HAVA ID, but who do not bring an acceptable form of identification when they present to vote, will be offered the opportunity to vote a provisional ballot. The voter must then submit a copy of one of the acceptable forms of HAVA ID noted above to their county board of elections before the date set for the county canvass of the election in which they voted provisionally. The instructions provided to the provisional voter will explain the exact date and time by which the HAVA ID must be submitted. If the voter fails to provide the county board of elections with acceptable HAVA ID, the voter's provisional ballot will not be counted.
Beginning in 2016, VIVA requires, with limited exceptions, that a voter show a photo ID when the voter presents in person to vote – either on the day of a primary or election or during early voting (one-stop absentee voting). Acceptable forms of photo ID include:
There are no photo ID requirements for persons who request and submit a by-mail absentee ballot; however, by-mail absentee voters will need to provide identification information on their absentee ballot request form beginning in 2014. The State Absentee Ballot Request Form is available online and at county board of elections' offices. The request form will require voters to provide one of the following: (1) their drivers license number, (2) the last four digits of their Social Security number; or (3) a copy of a HAVA ID.
For in-person voters, there are a few exceptions to the photo ID requirement:
Outreach and Education
The State Board of Elections and the county boards of elections will be actively engaged in assisting voters who do not possess acceptable photo ID. Part of the outreach effort will involve helping these voters obtain a free nonoperators ID card issued by the North Carolina DMV. The nocost ID program will begin in 2014. To apply for a DMV-issued ID, persons will need to provide the DMV with proof of age and identity, Social Security number, and residence. Following are the types of documents that the DMV will accept for these purposes.
Proof of age and identity
Original Social Security Card
Motor Vehicle Driver's Record
US Military ID
Certified Marriage Certificate
NC Limited Driving Privilege
Proof of Social Security Number
Social Security Card
1099 Tax Form
W-2 Tax Form
Social Security document reflecting the Social Security number
Military record reflecting the Social Security number
Medicaid/Medicare Card reflecting the Social Security number
Any document issued by the state or a county, city, or the federal government
NC Vehicle Registration Card or title
NC Voter Registration Card
Utility bill or cable bill
Housing lease or contract, mortgage statement, property or income tax statement
Preprinted financial statement;
N.C. vehicle insurance policy
Letter from homeless shelter
Visit the DMV's website for more information on the requirements for obtaining a nonoperators identification card.
Other outreach efforts
Beginning with the 2014 primary, county boards of elections will begin educating voters about the new photo ID requirements as voters present to vote during the early voting period or on the day of the primary or election. All voters will be asked whether they have acceptable photo ID and for those voters who indicate they do not have acceptable photo ID, the voter will be asked to sign an acknowledgement they do not have any form of photo ID that will be acceptable for purposes of voting. Voters may also complete an online survey to inform us that they do not have acceptable photo ID. Using these resources, the State and county Boards of Elections will reach out to these voters to ensure they obtain a photo ID before 2016.