North Carolina voters will see some changes during the upcoming election even though the law a new voter ID bill signed by Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2016. The new law will specifically require photo identification for the November 2016 election. As of Oct. 1, 2013, however, same day voter registration (G.S. 163.82.6A) is repealed. This means residents will no longer be able to register to vote during early voting. Previously, residents could register to vote during early voting as long as they voted when they registered. Residents will have until 5 p.m. Oct. 11 to register for the Nov. 5 municipal election. Registration can be done at the Polk County Board of Elections Office in the Womack building in Columbus. Another change as of Sept. 1, 2013 is that persons must be at least 17 years old and turning 18 by Election Day in order to register. Previously, North Carolina allowed 16-year-olds to preregister to vote at the department of motor vehicles while obtaining a driver’s license.
Polk County Board of Elections Director Tracy Waters said although the new law doesn’t take effect until 2016, her office would begin asking for identification in January 2014. She said the office would also educate persons without identification as to how they can obtain the necessary documents.
Waters said her office is currently awaiting direction from the state board of elections office, which is writing procedures for counties to follow for the 2014 election and proper identification. Waters also said state officials are working with register of deeds offices and the department of motor vehicles to eliminate any charges for people who cannot afford the identification needed to vote.
The new law, effective Jan. 1, 2016 from House Bill 589, will require all voters to state their name and residence address to the election official. Once verified as a registered voter, the individual must then sign his or her name to the poll book. Photo identification accepted includes an identification bearing any reasonable resemblance to the voter.