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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, your student IDs will only count if your school meets certain criteria by the October 26, 2019 deadline. 

The deadline for schools who have not yet applied, is October 26, 2019. Schools in the UNC System who applied during the last round (March 2019) but were denied, have until Nov. 15, 2019.

What you can do:

#1 – Do your homework.

The photo ID law is complex, but we fought to make Student ID compliance easier than before, and we won! There is a list of things your school needs to do during the ID issuing process, which they largely already do. The full memo from the State Board of Elections is here. But here is the short of it: 

  • ID must have a front facing photo of the student
  • ID must be issued after enrollment
  • ID must be produced in a secure location
  • IDs will have expiration dates after Jan. 1, 2021
  • Schools can provide copies of the IDs to the State Board for training purposes
  • Schools must disperse student voter information (i.e. “how to vote with your Student ID”)

If your school can comply, your chancellor, president, or registrar must sign and submit this document to the State Board.

List of Steps to Compliance

Read through this list with your administrator ally to ensure that your school can comply.

Print Out of Submission Form

Get your administrator to sign off on compliance here, and send into the SBOE.

#2 – Talk to the right people.

The chancellor, president, or registrar of your university, college, or community college must submit the compliance form. How to convince them to comply:

  • find out if their general contact number or email to set up a meeting 
  • tap personal campus contacts who care about voting (administrators, professors, student leaders) to see if the can make the call or have the meeting
  • approach other influential (but accessible) campus administrators who might be able to speak directly with the offices of your target administrator.

#3 – Tell your story and secure a commitment.

Before meeting with the chancellor, president, or registrar, it’s important to craft a story 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 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.”
  • If they don’t want to comply, ask why so you can alter your story.

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 October 19, 2019, to see how it’s going.

#4 – Report back with what you know.

To share the results of your meetings or to find out how to participate in the public comment period, please contact Dan DeRosa at

#5 – Don’t forget to act FAST.

The deadline for schools who have not yet applied, is October 26, 2019. Schools in the UNC System who applied during the last round (March 2019) but were denied, have until Nov. 15, 2019.

The next time that campuses will have the opportunity to have their student IDs will be approved for voting is in 2021. 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

Technical questions about the ID law? Contact Ted Fitzgerald, Chief Learning Officer, at or (919) 814-0761.

List of Student and Employee IDs that have already been approved

Check to see if your ID has already been approved, or scroll to the bottom to see if not.

List of schools who have yet to apply

Check to see if your school needs your help!

Special Note on voting without an ID in 2020.

Voters who do not have one of the acceptable forms of photo ID may complete an affidavit affirming their identity and attesting that they have a “reasonable impediment” to getting one of the acceptable photo IDs. The affidavit will offer voters eight types of “reasonable impediments” to choose from – lack of transportation, disability or illness, lack of birth certificate or other underlying documents required, work schedule, family responsibilities, lost or stolen ID, photo ID applied for but not yet received, or “other.” In 2020 only, voters will also be able to choose “did not know about ID law” as a reason for needing a reasonable impediment ballot. These voters will be given a provisional ballot.