Voter ID Exceptions: What will happen if I don’t have ID when I vote?

Make sure your vote counts

Image credit: projectvote.org

The new photo ID requirement for voting is in effect.

The NC State Board of Elections lists all the types of ID that will be accepted.

So if for some reason you do not have eligible ID when you go to the polls, or you choose not to comply with the new requirement, what exactly is going to happen?

The video below is used by the North Carolina Board of Elections to train all of the state’s poll workers and election judges what to do in those situations. Poll workers will not turn anyone away on Election Day; provisional ballots will be offered if there is a question about ID or eligibility. Then the Jackson County Board of Elections will determine eligibility of those voters on a case-by-case basis following election day–and they work hard to do this. But the bottom line is that only ballots cast in compliance with current election laws will count.

NC Election Official Training.11 – Failure.Refusal to Present Acceptable Photo ID from NC State Board of Elections on Vimeo.

Take the correct documents with you to the polls, and if you use a provisional ballot to vote, make sure your vote complies with current election laws.

The board of elections recognizes distinct reasons for lack of eligible ID, with different procedures for each one. Below is the list of exceptions to the photo ID requirement (also from the NC State Board of Elections) and the rules you need to follow to make your vote count:

1. Declaration of Reasonable Impediment

Voters who are unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID due to a reasonable impediment may still vote a provisional ballot at the polls. (Examples of a reasonable impediment include but are not limited to the lack of proper documents, family obligations, transportation problems, work schedule, illness or disability, among other reasonable impediments faced by the voter.)

Voters must also:

  1. Sign a declaration describing their impediment; and
  2. Provide their date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security number, or present their current voter registration card or a copy of an acceptable document bearing their name and address.  (Acceptable documents include a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government-issued document.)

The provisional ballot will be counted when the information on the declaration is verified and all other eligibility requirements are met.

2. Absentee By-Mail Voting

Photo ID is not required for a mail-in absentee ballot.  Absentee Ballot Request Forms are available online, at the county board of elections and at all one-stop early voting locations.

Request forms must be received by the county board of elections by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before the date of the election.

Completed absentee ballots must be returned to the county board of elections by 5:00 p.m. on Election Day, or post-marked by Election Day and received by the county board of elections no later than by 5:00 p.m. three days after the election.

3. Persons Who Are Qualified to Vote Curbside

Persons who travel to a voting place (on Election Day or during Early Voting), but who, due to age or physical disability, are unable to enter the voting enclosure without physical assistance, will be permitted to vote from a vehicle. Such persons must present either an acceptable photo ID or an acceptable document showing his or her name and address. (Acceptable documents include a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government-issued document.)

4. Subsequent Presentation of Acceptable Photo ID

Voters who have access to an acceptable form of photo ID but do not present it at the polling site may vote a provisional ballot and later present an acceptable form of photo ID to an election official at the county board of elections office. The deadline for presenting the photo ID will be provided to the voter when he or she casts the provisional ballot.  The provisional ballot will be counted if the voter presents acceptable photo ID by the deadline and all other eligibility requirements are met.

Alternatively, a voter may leave the voting site to retrieve his or her photo ID and return to the polls before closing time to cast a regular ballot.

5. Voters over the age of 70

Voters who are 70 years of age or older may use any acceptable photo ID that has been expired for any length of time, provided the photo ID expired after their 70th birthday.

6. Natural Disaster

A voter will not be required to show photo ID if the voter declares that he or she is a victim of a natural disaster that occurred within 60 days of the election date. The voter must reside in a county that has officially been declared a natural disaster area by either the Governor of North Carolina or the President of the United States.

7. Religious Objection

Voters who have a religious objection to being photographed may file a declaration with their county board of elections and will not be required to present photo ID. If a voter does not file a declaration at least twenty-five (25) days before the election, he or she may cast a provisional ballot. The ballot will be counted if the voter later appears in person at the county board of elections to execute the declaration and provides an acceptable document showing the voter’s name and address. (Acceptable documents include a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government-issued document.)  The deadline for signing the declaration will be provided to the voter when he or she casts a provisional ballot.

 

So, here’s the bottom line:

  • If you forget to bring your ID with you and use a provisional ballot, you will be required to present your ID at the Jackson County Board of Elections office after the election in order for your provisional ballot to count.
  • If you declare that you have faced a reasonable impediment to obtaining ID, the decision on your eligibility to vote will not be made by poll workers on election day. You will vote with a provisional ballot and then the Jackson County Board of Elections must verify the information in your declaration in order for your provisional ballot to count.

Finally, the NC State Board of Elections has a Provisional Ballot Lookup tool where you can find out the status of your provisional ballot. But if you follow the rules above, you won’t have to wonder whether your vote counts or not.