Voters across the state are getting a crash course in what it will take to cast a ballot in next year’s polls, at a series of hearings hosted this month by the State Board of Elections. The meetings, which kicked off Wednesday in Raleigh and will continue at eight additional locales, are geared at educating poll-goers on how to best anticipate changes that will be implemented in 2016 as a result of the 2013 voter ID legislation approved by the N.C. General Assembly. In particular, the hearings will focus on portions of the law which will require voters to present a government-issued ID bearing a “reasonable resemblance” to the voter, along with the criteria officials will use to determine if an ID is valid.
The proposed changes, which lawmakers say are intended to thwart voter fraud, have been met with wide controversy and resistance from groups who argue it disenfranchises voters, particularly minorities. The law faces legal challenges, including a federal trial scheduled next month.
Voters in the 18 counties of Western North Carolina will have two opportunities to attend hearings—one in Boone on Tuesday, June 10 and another in Sylva on Wednesday, June 11.
Josh Lawson, spokesman for the state Board of Elections, said locations for the hearings had been chosen after reviewing maps detailing which areas were home to the most voters who might be directly impacted by the law.