The new voter identification requirement won’t likely affect North Carolinians who have put down roots, but more transient populations including college students may find the new regulations cumbersome. College students in North Carolina will have to make an extra effort if they want to vote in their college town — though it won’t be an impossible feat. The greatest obstacle for students could be the new photo ID requirement at the polls. But not just any photo ID. A driver’s license with a student’s hometown address won’t fly at the polls. “That was really the number one concern that I was hearing from students,” said Christopher Coward, head of Student Government Association at Haywood Community College. “It might make it harder for students to get out to the polls.” Nothing is technically stopping a college student from registering to vote where they go to school. But the address on a their photo ID must be an exact match to the address they list on their voter registration. “I can think of 20 students right now who probably don’t have their current address on their state-issued ID,” Coward said.
So under the new law, students wanting to vote where they go to college will have to make a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office. If they go to the DMV and get a photo ID with their college address — be it for an apartment or dorm room — they can vote locally come Election Day.
State lawmakers ruled student IDs an invalid form of ID, even student ID cards issued by state universities and colleges.
“I think there should be some kind of system where we should be able to use our college ID,” Coward said.
The state will give out photo IDs through the DMV for free if you bring your voter registration card with you to show the DMV that’s why you want the ID.
All this adds an extra step.
“Students are busy people,” said Garrett Whipkey, president of Western Carolina University’s College Democrats. “I feel like this may add an extra burden.”