NC voter ID bill deletes pre-registration this year

Published 9:49 pm Thursday, September 5, 2013

Early voting registration repealed in 2014

Editor’s Note: The following article printed in the Friday, Sept. 5 Bulletin contained some misinformation regarding the upcoming municipal election and the implementation of the new voter ID bill. The following is an updated version of the article.

North Carolina voters will only see the change of no longer being able to pre-register at the department of motor vehicles for 16-year olds obtaining licenses for the upcoming municipal election following Gov. Pat McCrory signing a new voter ID law a few weeks ago.

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The new law doesn’t take complete effect until Jan. 1, 2016, although some new changes will be implemented beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

For the 2014 election same day voter registration (G.S. 163.82.6A) is repealed. This means residents will no longer be able to register to vote during early voting. Previously, residents could register to vote during early voting as long as they voted when they registered.

Residents will still be able to register during early voting for the 2013 municipal election.

This year’s only change is that as of Sept. 1, 2013 persons must be at least 17 years old and turning 18 by Election Day in order to register. Previously, North Carolina allowed 16-year-olds to preregister to vote at the department of motor vehicles while obtaining a driver’s license.

Polk County Board of Elections Director Tracy Waters said although the new law doesn’t take effect until 2016, her office would begin asking for identification in January 2014 although voters will not need to show an identification at that time. She said the office would educate persons without identification as to how they can obtain the necessary documents.

Waters said her office is currently awaiting direction from the state board of elections office, which is writing procedures for counties to follow for the 2014 election. Waters also said state officials are working with register of deeds offices and the department of motor vehicles to eliminate any charges for people who cannot afford the identification needed to vote for the 2016 election.

The new law, effective Jan. 1, 2016 from House Bill 589, will require all voters to state their name and residence address to the election official. Once verified as a registered voter, the individual must then sign his or her name to the poll book. Photo identification accepted includes an identification bearing any reasonable resemblance to the voter.

Voters without photo ID would vote a provisional ballot, according to the bill. Acceptable forms of ID include a NC driver’s license, a NC special identification card, a US passport, a US military identification card, a veteran’s identification card containing a photo issued by the US Department of Veterans, a tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe or a tribe recognized by North Carolina and a driver’s license or special identification card issued by another state, D.C., or a territory or commonwealth of the U.S., only if the voter’s registration was within 90 days of the election.

For voters over the age of 70, any of the cards above that include a date of expiration that was not expired on the day the voter reached the age of 70 will be accepted. There are also several exceptions to the requirement.

Anyone considered a religious objector against being photographed, who has executed a declaration of that objection before an election official more than 25 days before the election, can opt out of showing the identification.

Also eligible for exemption is anyone with a natural disaster affidavit, where a voter was unable to produce a photo ID as a result of a natural disaster that occurred within 60 days of the election that was declared by the president or the governor. Those persons may sign a declaration to that effect and vote a regular ballot.

The majority of U.S. states require some form of identification either with or without a photograph and several states have pending legislation to require identification at the polls.

South Carolina’s voter ID law went into effect Jan. 1, 2013 mandating that voters show a photo ID when voting. Forms accepted in South Carolina include a driver’s license, picture ID card issued by the department of motor vehicles, a passport, military ID or a photo voter registration card.

The photo registration card is only for people without one of the other four types of identification. North Carolina will join Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, who all have pending photo ID requirements.