Elections officials trained to handle voter ID situations
Published 7:43 pm Friday, February 5, 2016
Voters in North Carolina aren’t the only people getting up to speed on voter ID requirements for the upcoming March 15 primary.
Earlier this week, Beaufort County elections officials spent two days at a training session provided by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director; Anita Bullock Branch, deputy director; and Scott Sheppard, an elections specialist, attended the training sessions in Durham.
Although the North Carolina General Assembly approved the voter ID laws in 2013, they did not become effective until this year. There is ongoing litigation regarding the voter ID laws. A ruling in one case brought by opponents to the new laws likely will come after March 3, when early voting begins in North Carolina, and the March 15 primary.
The training sessions were designed to help local elections officials implement the laws and prepare voters for the upcoming primaries and general elections in November. Although the new laws require most North Carolina voters to present a valid, acceptable ID at the polling place before making ballots, there are some exceptions.
“We were pounded over the head with ID,” Hopkins said about the training sessions.
That said, Hopkins is not expecting major problems at the polls are challenges facing election officials.
“I don’t know that there will a challenge. I hate to say that, but I’m not foreseeing a whole lot of issues with it,” Hopkins said. “I think we’ve been trained well and can handle whatever situations voters present to us, whether it be they have an ID and agree with it, or if they disagree with the law or if they don’t have an ID, period. We have plans in place that will help us manage any issues that come up.”
It might take longer for registered voters without proper identification to vote, but those voters will be able to vote, she said.
“My bet is that we’re going to have more issues with people just forgetting their IDs rather than voters who don’t have a valid ID,” Hopkins said.
The Board of Elections is ready to assist voters with voter ID concerns, she said.
“Anybody who feels worried about not being able to vote because of an ID, they just need to call us and we’ll help them in any way we can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Hopkins said.
The Beaufort County Board of Elections may be contacted by calling 946-2321 or by visiting its offices at 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104. For additional information about the new voting procedures, visit VoterID.nc.gov
Acceptable forms of ID
• A drivers license issued by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles including a learner’s permit or a provisional license. These cards may be expired up to four (4) years before they are presented for voting.
• A state identification card issued by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. This card may be expired up to four (4) years before it is presented for voting.
• A United States passport (unexpired), including both the passport book and passport card, issued by the United States Department of State.
• A United States military ID card issued by the United States Department of Defense, including those issued to dependents, retired military personnel, or civilians. A military ID bearing an expiration date must be unexpired, but military ID cards without an expiration date are also acceptable.
• A veterans ID card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. A veterans ID card bearing an expiration date must be unexpired, but veterans ID cards without an expiration date are also acceptable.
• A tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe. If the card bears an expiration date, it must be unexpired. If it does not bear an expiration date, it must bear a printed issuance date that is not older than eight (8) years before it is presented for voting.
• A tribal enrollment card issued by a state-recognized tribe, provided that it has been approved by the State Board of Elections. This card must be unexpired.
• A drivers license or non-operators identification card issued by another state, the District of Columbia or a territory or commonwealth of the United States, but only if the voter registered to vote within ninety (90) days of the election. This card must be unexpired.
• Voters who are unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID due to a reasonable impediment may still vote a provisional ballot at the polls. (Examples of a reasonable impediment include but are not limited to the lack of proper documents, family obligations, transportation problems, work schedule, illness or disability, among other reasonable impediments faced by the voter.)
• Photo ID is not required for a mail-in absentee ballot. Absentee ballot request forms are available online, at the county board of elections and at all one-stop early voting locations.
• Persons who travel to a voting place (on Election Day or during early voting), but who, due to age or physical disability, are unable to enter the voting enclosure without physical assistance, will be permitted to vote from a vehicle. Such persons must present either an acceptable photo ID or an acceptable document showing his or her name and address.
• Voters who have access to an acceptable form of photo ID but do not present it at the polling site may vote a provisional ballot and later present an acceptable form of photo ID to an election official at the county board of elections office.
• Voters who are 70 years of age or older may use any acceptable photo ID that has been expired for any length of time, provided the photo ID expired after their 70th birthday.
• Voters will not be required to show photo ID if the voter declares that he or she is a victim of a natural disaster that occurred within 60 days of the election date. The voter must reside in a county that has officially been declared a natural disaster area by either the governor of North Carolina or the president of the United States.
• Voters who have a religious objection to being photographed may file a declaration with their county board of elections and will not be required to present photo ID. If a voter does not file a declaration at least twenty-five (25) days before the election, he or she may cast a provisional ballot. The ballot will be counted if the voter later appears in person at the county board of elections to execute the declaration and provides an acceptable document showing the voter’s name and address.