Free ID cards available to Polk County voters

Published 10:42 am Friday, August 4, 2023

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Voter IDs will be required beginning with 2023 municipal elections


POLK COUNTY—Starting Monday, North Carolina voters who don’t have an acceptable form of identification for voting purposes can get a free photo ID from their county board of elections office. 

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The new initiative comes as part of the state law that passed in 2018 requiring an ID to vote. The law was struck down by the North Carolina Supreme Court but that ruling was later overturned. 

Registered voters who do not have a North Carolina driver’s license, military or veterans ID card, or other approved form of ID can now obtain a free photo ID by providing their name, date of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security number. Voters will have their photo taken onsite and can expect to receive their ID on the spot in most counties. In some cases, the ID may be mailed to the voter or held for pick-up at a later date. 

“We’ll be up and running 8:30 on Monday morning,” said Cliff Marr, Director of Elections for Polk County. “We have the equipment, and we will be available to anyone who feels they may have trouble voting without a photo ID. They must be a registered voter, but if they are not registered, we can get them registered to vote.”

The new photo ID requirement will go into effect for municipal elections this fall. However, all voters can still vote with or without an ID. Voters must provide an acceptable ID at the polls or fill out a Photo ID Exception Form and cast a provisional ballot. Alternatively, they may vote a provisional ballot and bring an acceptable form of ID to the county board of elections office by the day before the county canvass. 

“The Voter ID is a thick plastic card similar to an employee ID,” adds Marr. “Anyone, who has any questions, we encourage them to please contact us at your local Board of Elections.”

For voters who choose to vote by mail, a photocopy of an ID must be included with their ballot, or they must complete a Photo ID Exception Form for absentee voting. The photocopy will be mailed in a special envelope to protect the voter’s personal information on their ID. 

Free voter photo IDs will include the voter’s photo, name and registration number and will be valid for ten years. The Board of Elections can issue the IDs during regular business hours, except for the period following the last day of early voting through Election Day. 

The new initiative has been praised by voting rights advocates who say it will help ensure all eligible voters have equal access to the ballot box. Those with questions about the ID process are encouraged to call Polk County Board of Elections at (828) 894-8181. 

For a complete list of acceptable forms of photo ID for voting, see the State Board’s website at The Polk County Board of Elections office is located at  40 Courthouse St. in Columbus