By Rebekah LaHay
This November, North Carolinians will be asked to vote on six amendments to the State Constitution. One of these amendments, if passed, will require voters to show a photo I.D. before voting. The General Assembly would then meet after the election in November to decide on which forms of I.D. will be accepted at the polls. As the bill states, “The General Assembly shall enact general laws governing the requirements of such photographic identification, which may include exceptions.”
Critics and advocates of the photo I.D. amendment have raised a good question; which forms of identification will be accepted?
Let’s take a look at the previous bill that includes a photo I.D. requirement legislators passed in 2013 and which forms of I.D. were regarded as acceptable:
- A North Carolina Drivers license, learner’s permit, or provisional license. Acceptable up to four years after expiration date.
- A special identification card for non-operators. Acceptable up to four years after expiration date.
- A United States passport.
- A United States military identification card.
- A veterans identification card.
- A tribal enrollment card issued either by a federally recognized tribe or a tribe recognized by North Carolina.
- A drivers license issued by any other state, Washington D.C., territory, or commonwealth of the United States.
- Expired identification if expiration date is after the voter’s 70th birthday.
These options provide a broad range of acceptable forms of I.D. Even voters with an expired I.D. (and not all of the listed I.D.s expire) would have had up to four years past the expiration date to cast their vote and obtain a new I.D. If voters are 70 years old or older, they would have been able to hold on to the same I.D. for as long as they wish to vote.
While this bill was passed 5 years ago, it is a credible reference to what legislators may approve during November’s session.
But, let’s not leave it at that. What are other states accepting as photo I.D.?
Above is an interactive map that provides additional details on the 15 states where a photo I.D. is either required or requested when voters go to the polls.
Most states with a photo I.D. requirement accept the same forms of photo identification that North Carolina outlined in the 2013 bill. Some states have even more options though: government employee photo I.D. (Kansas), student photo I.D. (Virginia), and a neighborhood association I.D. (Florida).
Providing some form of identification when voting is a common practice, 34 states have enacted such laws (not all are photo I.D. laws). Having a photo I.D. requirement will deter impersonators of legal, registered voters and will provide stronger voter confidence in the election process.