Molly McDonough was among the hundreds of North Carolinians jailed this year for demonstrating inside the statehouse against legislation she fears may prevent her from voting. “Voting is a right, and these laws are encroaching on that right,” said McDonough in an interview on the N.C. State campus where she’ll begin her sophomore year this fall. McDonough, 18, doesn’t have a driver’s license or a passport, and her college ID won’t be accepted under the voting reform bill passed Thursday along party lines by both houses of the Republican-majority state legislature. McDonough says obtaining documents required to get a state-issued photo ID — birth certificate, Social Security card, university transcript — and missing hours at her bookstore job to wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles is unfairly expensive, she figures, about $120 in all.
“That on a minimum wage takes a lot of time to make back up,” McDonough says. “I think requiring people to go and spend this much money in order to vote is a poll tax.”
Beginning in 2016, North Carolina polling places will accept only a North Carolina driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, a military ID, or a U.S. passport. An out-of-state driver’s license will work only if a voter moves into North Carolina within 60 days of an election. An old license possessed by an elderly voter will suffice only if a voter was already 70-years-old when the ID expired.