North Carolina eligible voters will now be asked to show a valid photo ID when voting. (Photo: Clayton Henkel)
They say the third time is the charm, and that was the case last week when I decided to get the official state photo voter identification card. My first attempt was scuttled by work. The second by the inclement weather Tropical Storm Idalia swept in. My third attempt on a Friday proved to be perfect.
By now everyone should know that voters will be asked to present a photo ID in this fall’s municipal elections and indeed all elections for the foreseeable future.
For most that will mean just showing a North Carolina driver’s license, but on this day the Wake County Board of Elections office in Raleigh was happy to help me get an official identification card bearing the state seal.
I filled out a very short form — name, date of birth, and last four digits of my social security number.
After that I was instructed to take my place on a green “X” taped on the beige carpet. Standing at the perfect distance, the election official snapped my picture and began processing my card.
Moments later the whirring printer spit out a plastic red, white and blue ID card bearing my image, the North Carolina State Board of Elections logo, and an expiration date set ten years from now.
As I put my newly minted photo ID card in my wallet, I thought that was a little peace of mind — voting privileges for a decade!
To borrow a line from famed infomercial-pitchman Ron Popeil: “But wait, there’s more!”
This Saturday (September 9th) the democracy heroes at the Wake County Board of Elections are making it really fast and convenient to get a photo voter ID.
Election staffers will host a five-hour weekend event, in which they will check voter status, take your photo and print a new voter ID card on the spot.
No appointment is necessary, and the event is free of charge.
“This is a new process for voters, so we wanted to offer those who can’t make it to our office during weekday business hours an opportunity to come on a Saturday,” said Wake County Elections Director Olivia McCall.
The office has already printed several dozen IDs for voters.
Wake Co. Photo ID Event for Voters
The no-fee ID event will take place Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 1200 N. New Hope Rd. in Raleigh.
Saturday’s event is only available to eligible voters who reside in Wake County.
For more information, call 919-404-4040.
Valid IDs will be requested starting with the upcoming October 10 and November 7 municipal elections.
The special Saturday event will also offer Wake County residents a chance to register to vote or update their information prior to getting a photo ID.
While the state’s photo voter ID is good for ten years, other forms of ID are of course acceptable for voting.
The folks at the NC State Board of Elections (NCSBE) say any of the following will work, as long as they are unexpired or within one-year of the expiration date:
- North Carolina driver’s license
- State ID from the NCDMV (aka “non-operator ID”)
- Driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, District of Columbia or U.S. territory (only if voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election)
- U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card
- North Carolina voter photo ID card issued by a county board of elections
- College or university student ID approved by the State Board of Elections
- State or local government or charter school employee ID approved by the State Board of Elections
For college students, many universities, community colleges, and private colleges have already asked and received approval from the state elections board for their student and employee IDs to be accepted for voting use. You can find a list of those schools here.
Even voters who vote by mail will need to include a photocopy of an acceptable photo ID in the envelope that arrives with the ballot starting this year.
The bottom line, a lot of people may not be thinking about voting right now. Municipal elections don’t always generate the interest and turnout seen during presidential election cycles. But now is the time to think about registering to vote, updating any information that may have changed, and making sure that you have an acceptable photo ID that hasn’t expired.
If you’re unsure about when the next election falls in your county, be sure to check out the NCSBE’s handy Local Voter Tool.
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