With voter ID requirement looming, a look at the DMV

By: - July 27, 2023 1:34 pm
a map of North Carolina showing counties with and without DMAV offices

Some rural residents looking to obtain driver’s license or state ID before voting this year will have to cross county lines to obtain them.

Seventeen North Carolina counties don’t have DMV offices, according to Carolina Demography. Of those 17 counties, 11 have proportions of Black voting-age residents that are higher than the state average. Three western counties without a DMV have higher proportions of white voting-age residents than the state average, and two counties without DMV offices have larger percentages of Latinos of voting age than the state average. 

Thirteen of the 17 counties without a DMV have poverty rates higher than the state average.

North Carolina has 116 DMV offices. Some counties have more than one. But about half have no open appointment slots for people who want licenses or state IDs. DMV schedules morning appointments and accepts afternoon walk-ins. 

A DMV spokesman did not respond to voicemail or email this week. 

Driver’s licenses, state ID cards, passports or passport cards, photo ID cards that county elections offices are preparing to offer, or university student and government employee IDs the state Board of Elections has approved can be used for voting. Tribal enrollment cards. US military or veteran ID cards or cards issued by the state or US government for assistance programs are also good. 

People who don’t have one of these forms of ID because they couldn’t get to a DMV office, for example, will be able to vote after filling out an ID Exception form

Four of the five fastest-growing counties, Brunswick, Pender, Franklin and Lincoln, each have one DMV office, according to Carolina Demography. The other — Currituck County — does not have any.

North Carolina voters will be asked to show photo ID for the first time since the 2016 primary.

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Lynn Bonner
Lynn Bonner

Investigative Reporter Lynn Bonner covers the state legislature and politics, as well as elections, the state budget, public and mental health, safety net programs and issues of racial equality.