The overwhelming number of political ads we are seeing on television these days is a reminder that a presidential election year is here, and the primary season is right around the corner.
In North Carolina, this is the first election cycle, beginning with the primary election on March 15, where some of the changes in the state election laws enacted by the General Assembly in 2013 will take effect, notably the requirement that voters show a photo ID to cast a regular ballot.
As elder law and disability law attorneys, we often hear questions from seniors and folks with disabilities about the new voting requirements in North Carolina. Because of age and mobility issues, our senior citizens, and sometimes people with physical disabilities, are more likely to lack the required photo ID to cast a regular ballot on election day. Here are a few important things to remember:
- If you want to vote inside the polling place using the regular ballot (that is, not a “provisional ballot”) on election day, you’ll need to show one of the following forms of valid photo ID: a NC driver license or non-driver ID card, a US passport, a Veterans ID/military ID, tribal ID, or out-of-state driver license (only within 90 days after registering as a voter in NC).
- The state of NC will provide a free, DMV issued ID for the purposes of voting to folks who do not already have the required ID. Pay a visit to your local DMV with the required documents (three total – at least one must have your address and one must have your birth date) and ask for a no-fee ID for voting. For more specifics, including the required documents, see the NC Voter ID website.
- Most folks are unaware of the option, but curbside voting does not require showing a photo ID. To vote curbside at your polling place, you must sign an affidavit (sworn statement) that you would have difficulty entering the polling place because of “age or a physical disability.”
- Voting by absentee ballot through the mail does not require photo ID. For more info, see the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.
The non-profit organization Democracy NC focuses its mission in part on voting rights. It produces an excellent pamphlet on the photo ID requirements that will go into effect this election cycle, and provides a great deal more detail than I have provided here. You can find the pamphlet here.
Make sure to register to vote at least 25 days before the election date, and locate your polling place. To register, or to determine if you are registered, go through the county board of elections where you reside. You can find phone numbers, addresses, and websites for your county’s board of elections here.
Navigating these websites can be confusing. If you need assistance in determining your registration status or finding your polling place, give me a call here at the office, and I’ll be happy to assist at no cost to you.
- Posted by Ben Limehouse
- On January 14, 2016
- 1 Comments