General Assembly approves voter ID accommodations, including use of student IDs

Updated: May. 28, 2019 at 5:33 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - College students who are eligible to vote in the 2020 elections should be able to do so using their student IDs.

House Bill 646 received final approval by a 109-6 vote in the NC House of Representatives on Tuesday. The legislation should facilitate increased voting access for students using college-issued identification across the state, according to a news release from the office of NC House Speaker Tim Moore.

Voter ID rules will apply to both in-person and absentee ballots beginning in 2020.

“We worked together with our colleagues across the aisle and across the building to accomplish a common-sense solution to voter ID implementation,” said Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) during debate on the bill. “This update to the original bill conclusively resolves all known issues identified by the university system and Board of Elections. We worked with both of those entities to identify and address barriers to IDs being approved.”

North Carolina’s voter ID law accommodates religious objectors, provides for free government-issued IDs and accepts drivers’ licenses, passports, military and veteran IDs, student IDs, voter ID cards, as well as state and local government IDs. Drivers’ licenses from other states would even qualify in some circumstances.

H.B. 646 also extends the date for universities, private and community colleges, charter schools, and state and local government entities to have their identification cards approved for voting from March 15 to Nov. 15, 2019.

In December 2018, a constitutional amendment voted on by the public made photo identification a requirement. When the law changed, a dozen schools in the UNC system had IDs that were no longer eligible forms of ID.

Some students at UNC Wilmington said they felt their IDs should already be considered eligible forms of ID, based on the standards they had to meet in order to be enrolled in school.

H.B. 646 allows voter ID cards to contain photos not taken directly but obtained by qualifying institutions, provided there is a frontal image that includes the individual’s face and represents a clear, accurate likeness of the individual.

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