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You now need to show an NC driver’s license or other “acceptable photo ID” to vote with a regular ballot, beginning in the fall of 2023.

North Carolina’s Photo ID Requirements to Vote Resource

Learn more in this shareable resource

WHAT ARE THE “ACCEPTABLE” IDs?

Must NOT be expired or expired for one year or less

  • NC driver’s license
  • Non-driver’s ID from NC DMV, free to residents who show a birth certificate and other documents
  • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  • Driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, District of Columbia or U.S. territory. Only if voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election.College or university student ID approved by the NCSBE.
  • State or local government or charter school employee ID approved by the NCSBE.
  • NC Voter Photo ID card (free, issued by a county board of elections). Voter must provide name, date of birth, and the last four numbers of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken.

May be expired or have no expiration date

  • Tribal Enrollment Card. Must be issued by tribe recognized by NC or federal government.
  • Military or veteran ID card issued by the U.S. government
  • Public Assistance Program ID card issued by U.S. government or State of North Carolina

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?

A voter 65 or older may use an expired form of acceptable ID if the ID was unexpired on their 65th birthday – it’s good for life!

The address on your ID does not matter – the law says ID is only used to prove who you are, not where you live. (Make sure your voter registration matches your current address!)

Mail-in absentee voters must send a copy of an identity document with their ballot request or with the returned ballot OR an affidavit noting lack of access to a method to attach an electronic or physical copy of the identification card to the written request as a reasonable impediment. 

NOTE: If you don’t have acceptable photo ID, you can vote a provisional ballot, but then you must take an acceptable ID to your county elections board by the day before election results are certified (day before county canvass, the Monday after Election Day for municipal elections). If you are unable to show photo ID (whether voting in person or by mail), you may fill out an ID Exception Form (also known as a reasonable impediment form) and vote a provisional ballot.

Check back for more information as it becomes available  OR call the voter assistance hotline at 888-OUR-VOTE

(Updated as of September 2023)

Need ID? Contact Vote Riders!

If you will be eligible to vote by November 5, 2024 and do not have a current NC ID or driver license and would like to get one, you can get free help from our friends at VoteRiders! VoteRiders is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides free help to any eligible citizen* who needs an ID. They can help you get your ID/DL, including any underlying documents like a birth certificate or social security card, pay the birth certificate and DMV fees/costs (but not fines, reinstatement fees, insurance, etc.) and provide free transportation to/from the DMV and SSA offices.

You can contact VoteRiders through their website, email Helpline@VoteRiders.Org, interact with their Chatbot at VoteRiders.Org, or call or text their toll-free number 866-ID-2-VOTE (866-432-8683). One of their volunteers will call you back to start the process of getting an ID. All services are available in English and Spanish.

*VoteRiders also helps returning citizens who are not yet eligible due to ongoing parole or probation restrictions.

THE IMPACT: Voter ID will directly impact Black and brown voters.

The voter ID law causes confusion whether or not it is the law of the land. Even after the voter ID law was overturned in the past, it continued to wreak havoc, deterring voters from the ballot box even after it had been stricken.

Voter ID has a direct and disparate impact on those in the Black and brown communities. Research has found that Black voters are more likely than white voters to lack a qualifying ID. In addition, voter ID laws have been shown to be an active deterrent to voting, particularly for Black and brown voters. It’s been shown that voters without ID are either unable to vote because they arrive at the polls without an ID, or more significantly, those without ID decide to not go to the polls in the first place as a result of the law.

The NC State Board of Elections needs sufficient funding to implement voter ID in NC. If North Carolinians are going to be forced to produce photo ID come this fall, the legislature should support implementation of these laws at ALL levels of election administration. Funds will help educate the public and prepare county boards and poll workers at nearly 3,000 voting sites across NC for the photo ID implementation (read more about funding elections in this report from the NC Budget and Tax Center).

How North Carolinians can protect voters 

The voter ID law is complex – it will be hard to administer and will be a barrier to some voters. Let’s overcome confusion, help people get an acceptable ID, and fight anti-voting laws with more voting!

  • Keep up with what’s happening with the law. Among other problems, this law accepts some photo IDs but not others, and has biases that will harm people based on their race, income, age, gender and mobility – just like the previous iterations of the voter ID law.
  • Educate voters now about their rights and what the ID requirement really means. Share our resources from our website, social media, and partner groups to amplify the importance and far-reaching impact of this law.

Testimony on Voter ID and Absentee Voting

Democracy North Carolina submitted written testimony to the NC House Oversight and Reform Committee regarding concerns for Voter ID Implementation.

THE HISTORY: Voter ID in North Carolina

  • Voter ID laws require voters to present a specific type of identification when voting. They disproportionately affects senior citizens, young people, people of color, people with disabilities, and low-wealth individuals who are more likely to lack the required forms of IDs.
  • While Black people make up 23% of registered voters in North Carolina, they account for 34% of those with no photo ID. Socio-economic factors such as
    transportation, education, healthcare, and occupation also impact the ability to get an ID to vote, even an ID that is labeled as “free” – which doesn’t account for the time spent and wages lost to acquire the ID.
  • Voter ID was not a requirement for voting in North Carolina before 2013. Since then, the North Carolina General Assembly has attempted to enact a voter ID law multiple times even though the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found North Carolina’s voter ID was passed with racially discriminatory intent and also had a racially discriminatory impact.
  • In 2018, North Carolinians voted to amend the constitution to require voter ID, but the General Assembly did not provide voters with information on how this law would be enacted or what types of ID would be required. The law enacting the constitutional amendment was also racially discriminatory, and voters were not required to present voter ID in the 2020 election.
  • On April 28, 2023, the North Carolina State Supreme Court reversed the previous decision in Holmes v. Moore regarding discriminatory photo voter ID. Due to the ruling, North Carolinians now need to show an NC driver’s license or other “acceptable photo ID” to vote with a regular ballot, beginning in fall 2023.