What you need to know to vote on Tuesday

Posted March 14, 2016

Early voting

— North Carolinians will do more than choose a presidential preference Tuesday in the state primary election.

Voters this year will encounter new photo identification rules for the first time, although advocacy groups point out that there are ways for those without a valid photo ID to cast a ballot.

"We don't want anyone to be confused," said Gary Sims, director of the Wake County Board of Elections.

While there are safeguards to ensure everyone can vote, people should make it easy on themselves and election workers, Sims said.

"Don't gamble on your vote. If you have the proper identification, then just bring it. If you don't have it, it's going to take you longer to vote," he said.

According to the State Board of Elections, acceptable forms of ID include:

  • A driver's license issued by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, including a learner's permit or a provisional license. IDs that are four years out of date may still be used.
  • A current passport issued by the United States.
  • A veteran's ID card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A veteran's card with an expiration date must be unexpired. Those without an expiration date are also acceptable.
  • A United States military ID card issued by the Department of Defense.
  • A tribal ID card for a federally recognized tribe or a tribal ID card for a state-recognized tribe approved by the State Board of Elections.
  • A driver's license or identification card issued by another state or the District of Columbia. In order to use this card, the voter must have registered to vote 90 days or fewer prior to the election in question.

There are exceptions to the voter ID requirement, most prominently a feature that allows voters to declare they had a "reasonably impediment" to obtaining a photo ID.

Reasonable impediments include things such as not being able to get to the DMV to obtain an ID card or the inability to get off work during DMV hours. Those who vote citing a reasonable impediment will cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are counted during the canvass in the week following the election.

On election days, voters are asked to cast their ballots at a local precinct.

"Work with our precinct officials. They're community volunteers," Sims said, acknowledging the voter ID requirement is controversial for some. "They didn't make the law. They're just trying to make democracy happen."


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