This November, voters will weigh in on an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that would require people to present a photo identification in order to cast their ballot in person.
Voter identification is a common-sense method of protecting the integrity of our elections. Nonetheless, the media has been spreading a misleading narrative of controversy around the issue.
What may often be missing from the conversation is that North Carolina would not be alone in passing a voter ID requirement. In fact, North Carolina is currently one of only 16 states that has no voter ID law; this means that two-thirds of states currently have a voter ID requirement in some form.
There are various types of voter identification, with some states requiring photo identification and others accepting lesser forms of ID. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) further categorizes voter identification laws into two types: strict and non-strict. Although each state law is different, typically the laws allow voters without identification to cast provisional ballots. Non-strict laws allow such ballots to be counted without the ID requirement being met under certain circumstances. Strict laws, on the other hand, require further action from the voter, such as returning to the polling place within a given amount of time to show a valid ID, in order for their provisional ballot to be counted.
If passed, North Carolina’s amendment would require a photo identification. Even in this, the state is far from alone. Seven states already have strict photo ID requirements, including Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia, which all border North Carolina. Eight other states have non-strict photo ID requirements.
Voter ID is a popular law among states, and it is also not a new concept. Some states have had voter ID requirements since the 1950s. Photo ID requirements gained popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2005, Georgia and Indiana became the first states to adopt strict photo identification requirements.
For more information about voter ID laws across the country, see our interactive map below. This map was generated using NCSL’s law categorizations.