RALEIGH — Appalachian State University students and employees can use their university-issued identification cards as a valid photo ID card to vote in the 2020 elections, the North Carolina State Board of Elections announced Friday.
“Of the approximately 850 universities, colleges, state and local employers, including charter schools and tribal entities that were eligible to have their identification cards approved, 81 institutions submitted requests to the State Board of Elections,” NCSBE Executive Director Kim Strach said in a March 15 letter. “My office closely reviewed all submitted applications, and we approved submissions from 72 institutions.”
ASU is only one of five universities in the University of North Carolina system to receive NCSBE approval for both student and employee identifications, along with Elizabeth City State University, N.C. State University, UNC-Asheville and N.C. Central University.
UNC-Wilmington, Fayetteville State, the UNC School of Math and Science and Winston-Salem State had their employee identification cards approved, but not their student identification cards. All other UNC system photo ID attestation requests were denied. Strach stated that there’s no process for appeal, meaning the denied post-secondary institutions can’t apply again until 2021.
Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, based in Lenoir with a campus in Watauga County, did not apply for their identification cards to be eligible. Other private schools, such as Duke University in Durham, and community colleges, such as Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, had their student IDs approved.
The deadline for post-secondary institutions, municipal governments, charter schools, government institutions and federally-recognized tribes to attest that their identification cards were eligible under S.L. 2018-144 was March 13.
Session Law 2018-144 required that a student identification card eligible as a voter identification card has two conditions that Strach highlighted in her letter. The first was that the post-secondary institution attest that “the identification cards contain photographs of students or employees taken by the university, college or employing entity or its agents or contractors.” The second condition Strach highlighted was that the university identification cards were issued “after an enrollment process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the student that include, but are not limited to, the Social Security number, citizenship status and birthdate of the student.”
Voter ID implementation delayed to 2020
The voter ID law, passed in December 2018, was amended on Thursday to delay the implementation of voter ID until 2020.
“The absentee voting by mail reforms in S.L. 2018-144 require rule making and other administrative procedures on the part of the State Board of Elections which will not be completed prior to the two additional 2019 congressional elections,” the preamble to Session Law 2019-4 states.” The State Board of Elections needs legislative clarity regarding absentee voting by mail in order to conduct the two additional 2019 congressional elections in an orderly fashion.”
S.L. 2018-144 was passed over the governor’s veto in December 2018 following a state constitutional amendment that was approved by roughly 55 percent of voters in November 2018.
Cooper signed the bill delaying implementation after the Republican-led state Senate passed the bill 29-21 on March 12 along party lines.
The measure passed the state House 116-0 on March 13 after a proposed amendment by Rep. Ray Russell (D-Boone) failed. The proposed amendment would have delayed the deadline to attest that certain forms of voter identification cards, including student identification cards met S.L. 2018-144’s requirements — to Sept. 15.
The amendment vote failed 65-50 along party lines, but Russell said in a Thursday Facebook post that Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House committee Chair Rep. David Lewis (R-Dunn) committed publicly on the floor to fixing the voter attestation problem.