NORTH CAROLINA — Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and Lees-McRae College were two institutions added on Nov. 1 to a list of 49 additional types of student and employee photo identification approved for use in the 2020 elections, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
The newly approved IDs join more than 80 student, employee or tribal IDs previously approved for use in N.C. elections, according to State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell. In the November 2018 general election, 55.5 percent of the state’s voters approved a referendum requiring voters to present a photo ID to vote. Session Law 2018 144 — as amended by Session Law 2019 22 — implements the new photo ID law.
Beginning in 2020, voters in North Carolina will be asked to present photo identification to vote, though certain exceptions apply. Voter ID is not required in 2019 elections.
State law requires the state board to confirm that an institution’s identification card meets certain requirements before it can be used to vote in North Carolina. Appalachian State University was previously for student ID usage.
Three IDs submitted to the state board were not approved. Applications from the city of Gastonia and Saint Andrews University’s were submitted after the deadline, according to the state board. The town of Drexel’s request was denied because the application remained incomplete after several attempts by state board staff to contact the town.
Institutions that submitted applications during the initial approval phase in early 2019 but had their IDs denied have until Nov. 15 to submit a revised application. The state board stated it will announce which of those applications are approved by Dec. 1.
“As of today, more than 130 IDs are approved for voting purposes in 2020, and we expect additional IDs to be approved later this month,” Brinson Bell said in a statement. “Voters who do not have an acceptable ID can get one for free at their county board of elections.”
The state board worked with N.C. Community Colleges, the University of North Carolina system, the N.C. Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the N.C. Department of Instruction, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, the N.C. League of Municipalities, the N.C. City and County Management Association and other groups to ensure their members were aware of deadlines and details of the approval process. The state board stated that staff also sent reminders and conducted informational webinars about the process.
Voters may use any acceptable form of ID. Voters who do not have an acceptable ID may get a free N.C. Voter ID from their county board of elections.
Meanwhile, all North Carolina households will soon receive mailings with information about the new voter ID requirement. State law requires the State Board of Elections to send four educational mailings about voter ID — two in 2019 and two in 2020. After the municipal elections are completed, the state board office stated that it will roll out a training series for county officials and poll workers to prepare them for the voter ID requirement.