Election officials prepare for voter ID requirements as legal battles continue

Election officials prepare for voter ID requirements as legal battles continue
Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 4:43 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - North Carolina’s voter ID law will be in effect for this year’s municipal elections. The law has faced a swam of legal challenges since it passed in 2018. The North Carolina Supreme Court reinstated the law in April, meaning voters will have to show an approved form of ID to vote.

Brunswick County Elections Director Sara LaVere says now is the time for voters to make sure they are prepared.

“I think that people should be thinking about it now. You certainly don’t want to think about it the day before the election, or you don’t want to think about it as you’re in the polling place and you’re asked for your photo identification.”

The North Carolina State Board of Elections says voters will need an approved form of ID on election day, or send in a photocopy with a mail-in ballot.

People who do not have identification will have to fill out an exception form and cast a provisional ballot to be reviewed by their county’s board of elections. You can also choose to present your ID at the board of election’s office between election day and the county’s vote canvass.

“If you showed up without a photo ID in the 2022 general election, you were asked to state your name and address, and if we found you on our rolls, you were given a ballot,” said LaVere. “So, it is going to be somewhat different and we are working to make sure that we have training in place so our poll workers know how to efficiently get people through the line with this added review of a photo identification.”

The DMV offers free ID cards, and voters will soon be able to obtain a free voter ID at their county’s board of elections office, according to LaVere.

Still, the Voter ID law continues to face challenges in court, as a judge ruled this week that the North Carolina NAACP’s lawsuit claiming the law is unconstitutional can continue.

North Carolina NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell says the law will make it harder for some people to vote.

“We are a large state that is a long way from places that don’t have transportation, don’t have access, and it is unfair to the citizens of the state to subject them to a barrier to their ability to vote,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell is interested to see how the NAACP’s lawsuit plays out in court.

“The use of voter ID will inhibit the right to vote for many people who are marginalized, possibly people of color,” said Maxwell. “When you have to go such a distance to find that ID, usually your driver’s license place and your board of elections are places where you can secure it, [but they] are in your county seat.”

This year’s municipal elections are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023 in southeastern North Carolina.