Legislation dropped quickly on the General Assembly by Republican leaders and approved Thursday would allow some North Carolina residents to legally vote in person without photo identification as will be required in 2016. The House and Senate separately voted by wide margins for the elections legislation, which would ease the mandate in a 2013 law that anyone showing up to vote at an early-voting center or Election Day precinct show one of eight qualifying photo IDs. Driver’s licenses, military IDs and U.S. passports meet the standard. This and other provisions in the 2013 law are being challenged in federal and state courts, with the first trial scheduled next month. Meanwhile, state election officials still are preparing to carry out the photo ID requirement.
Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said the exceptions are in response to comments made at recent public hearings held by the State Board of Elections about the requirement’s details.
The bill now heading to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk says voters who suffered a “reasonable impediment” to getting a qualified ID — such as illness, lack of transportation or a birth certificate needed to obtain one— could fill out a form at the voting site. Their provisional vote would count if they provided other identification or a voter card and their name matches with the last four digits on their Social Security number and birthdate they provide. The 2013 law offers free state identification cards and birth records to people who ask for them.