Legislation (S 825) to implement the new voter-approved constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification when voting in person passed the state Senate today (November 28) by a vote of 30 in favor and 10 against. Senate Republicans made a few changes to the bill that were proposed by Democrats. Twenty-eight Republican Senators voted for the bill and none voted against it. Two Democratic Senators voted for the bill and 10 voted against it. The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives which is expected to act quickly by the end of the week.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the requirements in the pending bill are less strict than a 2013 voter ID law that was overturned by a federal court in 2016.
The new proposal expands acceptable IDs to include student IDs from UNC as well as IDs issued by community colleges, private universities, and municipalities that meet state requirements. Like the 2013 law, S 825 allows the use of drivers licenses, military IDs, tribal enrollment cards, and identity cards issued by the state DMV. It also provides for a new voter ID card that will be available free from local elections boards. IDs that have been expired for less than a year may be used and voters who are age 65 or older will be able to use expired IDs that were valid on their 65th birthday.
Voters who are not able to obtain an acceptable ID can vote if they sign an affidavit stating that there is a reasonable impediment that prevented them from obtaining an acceptable ID.
One issue that has not been finalized involves how much state funding will be appropriated to implement the new law and whether funding will be available to provide assistance to voters who don’t have a photo ID (for example, transportation of voters to the county elections board or taking photo equipment to satellite or mobile voter registration sites).