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5 Ways to Help Make Your Student IDs Count

With some exceptions, a photo ID is required to vote in North Carolina in 2019!

5 Ways to Help Make Your Student IDs Count

Under the new photo ID requirement to vote, one of the accepted forms of voter identification is student ID cards issued by North Carolina community colleges and public and private colleges and universities. But, there are a number of additional steps that your campus must take by the fast-approaching deadline of March 13, 2019 for your student IDs to be approved by the N.C. State Board of Elections for voting in upcoming elections. Here are 5 ways to act fast and help make sure your student IDs count at the polls in 2019 and beyond:

#1 – Do some homework.
The photo ID law is complex and makes it hard for student IDs to work as accepted forms of identification for voting. The first step in the process is “[t]he chancellor, president, or registrar of the university or college” must submit a signed letter to the Executive Director of the State Board “under penalty of perjury” acknowledging that your student IDs are issued following a certain process. To learn more about this process, visit


#2 – Talk to the right people.

The chancellor, president, or registrar of your university, college, or community college must send the student ID compliance letter. Ways you could raise awareness and influence the process include:

  • finding out if there’s a general contact number or email to set up a meeting with them,
  • tapping personal campus contacts who care about voting (administrators, professors, student leaders) to see if they’ll make a connection and support this call to action, and
  • approaching other influential (but accessible) campus administrators who might be able to speak directly with the offices of the chancellor, president, or registrar, too.

#3 – Tell your story and secure a commitment.
Before meeting with the chancellor, president, or registrar, it’s important to draft messages or craft a story that will highlight the problem, solutions, and strategies that will resonate and encourage immediate action. Students can craft a strong argument by sharing: (1) why it’s good for the students, and (2) why it’s good for the person you’re targeting.

  • Example of sharing your self interest: “Next year’s 2020 Presidential election could be one of the most influential in modern history. We have to ensure that as many young people as possible have an acceptable ID so we can make our voices heard.”
  • Example of a reflecting a campus administrator’s self interest: “Student ID compliance could establish a lasting legacy for you and your office, showing support for civic engagement and students’ fundamental right to vote.”

Don’t forget to communicate at all levels: email, call, and drop by the office for a visit — and make a plan to follow up! Given the tight deadline for compliance, it’s best to check back in with your contacts on or before February 28, 2019, to see how it’s going.

#4 – Report back with what you know.

When you spoke to the registrar, president or chancellor, were they concerned about being able to comply? Did they mention costs? Burdens for particular students or administrators? That the deadline is too short to comply? Voting rights advocates are encouraging private and public university, colleges and community colleges — and students and staff working to influence them — to share any compliance challenges they’re facing during the State Board of Elections ID rulemaking public comment period, happening now through mid-March 2019. To share the results of your meetings or to find out how to participate in the public comment period, please contact Dan DeRosa at or (732) 687-6895.

#5 – Don’t forget to act FAST.

Just a reminder: the State Board of Elections is giving campus leaders only until March 13, 2019 to submit the compliance letter agreeing to produce student IDs acceptable as voter ID for the 2019 and 2020 elections. The next time that campuses will have the opportunity to have their student IDs will be approved for voting is in 2021. These deadlines are fast approaching for institutions interested in promoting student civic engagement by making their student IDs eligible for voting. It’s important to encourage your campus leaders to contact the State Board of Elections as soon as possible to inform them that they are interested in having your student IDs approved for use as voter ID.

Questions about how to advocate on your campus and next steps? Contact Dan DeRosa at or (732) 687-6895, or visit

Technical questions about the ID law? Contact SBOE Deputy General Counsel Katelyn Love at or (919) 814-0756.

5 Ways to Help Make Your Student IDs Count

Download our How-To handout on making Student IDs count