Voter ID is officially here in North Carolina.
Supporters of the state’s voter identification law present it as a protection against voter fraud. But the NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice are suing in federal court, arguing that the law will disenfranchise minority voters who are less likely to have the required forms of photo ID.
The federal judge hearing the case refused a request by the challengers to block the law for the primary March 15, so voters must follow the new ID rules.
With the early voting period starting March 3, less than three weeks away, here’s what you need to know:
Acceptable photo IDs
A driver’s license, a learner’s permit or a provisional license. These can be expired up to four years.
A state identification card issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles.
A veterans identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
A U.S. military identification card.
An unexpired U.S. passport.
A tribal enrollment card.
An out-of-state license, as long as the voter registered within 90 days of the election.
Voters 70 and older can present an expired form of acceptable ID as long as it expired after their 70th birthday.
If you have no photo ID
Voters who don’t have an acceptable type of identification can still vote, but they’ll be asked to sign a form stating why they could not obtain an ID. They also must present a current voter registration card, or a form of ID with name and address, such as a utility bill, bank statement or paycheck, or give the last four digits of their Social Security number and birth date.
Those voters will cast provisional ballots. No other action is required from voters, but local elections boards will work to verify the information on the declaration forms before counting the votes.
Have it, but didn’t bring it?
You can still vote using a provisional ballot, but you will have to return to the local board of elections and show the ID to get your ballot counted. There will be a deadline.
How to get an ID for voting
People without an acceptable form of ID can get a free photo ID from a DMV office or DMV mobile unit.
Residents must be registered to vote or must register at the DMV to qualify for a free ID. Social Security number, and documents that prove age, identity and residency are required. It will take 10 days to receive the ID by mail.