Williams Foos, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, registered to vote in Orange County in 2012 and voted in the presidential election that year. But when he showed his Pennsylvania license at an early voting site in this year’s primary, he had to cast a provisional ballot. His vote may not count. In the state’s first use of the voter ID law, some college students’ ballots may end up filling the discard piles. As of Friday, 717 people had cast provisional ballots because they didn’t have acceptable photo identification. Four of the five counties with the highest concentrations of provisional ballots from voters without approved ID were Durham, Orange, Watauga and Wake, where those voters had home addresses on or near campuses. Robeson County was the fifth. Robeson is home of UNC Pembroke, but the county’s elections director couldn’t say why it landed in the top tier of counties with voter ID questions. Durham and Orange were the leaders, by far. Each county had more than 100 voters without acceptable photo ID.
This primary season, voters were confronted with a complex mix of familiar practices, new requirements and choices that, for some, turned voting into a choose-a-path adventure.
Foos said he got a ballot, but precinct workers seemed confused about how to handle it. “It was weird,” he said. “I left wondering if my vote would be counted or not.”
The state’s voter ID law is still being argued in federal court, with opponents claiming it suppresses minority and youth voting. In addition to requiring photo identification, the law restricted the early voting period and eliminated preregistration of teenagers before their 18th birthdays. It also gets rid of same-day registration during early voting and disallows ballots cast by people outside their assigned precincts, but those two established practices are allowed for this year’s primary while the lawsuit is active.
Full Article: Voter ID law hinders some college students | News & Observer.