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House Bill 589 (the Voter Information Verification Act), passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor McCrory, institutes photo voter identification by all those wishing to cast a ballot in person. Here's some information about this requirement.
What are appropriate forms of identification?
- A North Carolina drivers license, including a learner's permit or a provisional license.
- A special identification card for nonoperators issued by the DMV
- A United States passport
- A United States military identification card
- A Veterans Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
- A tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe or a tribe recognized by this State
- A drivers license or nonoperators identification card issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or commonwealth of the United States, but only if the voter's voter registration was within 90 days of the election
Note: The ID must not be expired, except for a voter over age 70 whose ID was current on their 70th birthday. The military and veterans IDs do not need an expiration date, but other IDs do.
Are there exceptions for religious beliefs or those who vote curbside?
Yes, the law states: "At any time after the voter has registered to vote that the voter has determined the voter has a sincerely held religious objection to being photographed, that voter may execute a declaration before an election official to be incorporated as part of the official record of that voter's voter registration." Instead of a photo, these voters may show a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government document with name and current address.
What about provisional balloting?
If you fail to have a photo ID present on election day, you may cast a provisional ballot. That ballot will not be counted until photo ID or a religious exception is filed before that ballot will be counted by the County Board of Elections. Voters can cast a provisional ballot, but it will only count if they bring an acceptable ID to the county board of elections by noon of the day before the election canvass.
How do I get an ID if I cannot afford one?
The legislation provides for a free identification through the DMV under the following provision: "a registered voter shall sign a declaration stating the registered voter is registered and does not have other photo identification" and that the DMV "shall verify that voter registration prior to issuing the special identification card."
Does Voter ID requirements extend to absentee voting?
When does Voter ID go into effect?
This requirement will go into effect January 2016 and local Boards of Elections will begin notification of this requirement beginning with the 2014 party primaries. However, we encourage you to obtain photo identification prior to 2016 and to begin showing this identification the next time you cast your ballot.
What is the timeline for the other VIVA provisions and what are they?
Below is the timeline of the VIVA provisions and their impact according to Democracy NC.
- NO PUBLIC FINANCING OPTIONS – Effective Immediately. Programs that give judicial and some executive branch candidates a chance to qualify for public financing are ended. Left-over funds will finance the judicial guide until exhausted. The tax check-off that helps political parties is also ended. Candidates and parties are forced to rely only on private donors.
- NO TEENAGE PRE-REGISTRATION – Effective Sept. 2013. Pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds ends. Also, Citizens Awareness Month and the required annual registration drive in high schools are eliminated (effective Jan. 2014).
- NO BUNDLING BY LOBBYISTS – Effective Oct. 2013. Registered lobbyists may not collect or pass along any campaign donation to a legislative or executive branch candidate, even a donation from their client’s PAC.
- REGISTRATION ROLLS CLEANED – Effective Oct. 2013. The State Board is authorized to accept notices from more sources to remove deceased voters and also exchange data with states to detect NC voters registered elsewhere.
- FREE IDs AND DOCUMENTS – Effective Jan. 2014. Voters who swear they don’t have an acceptable ID may apply for a free non-driver’s “special ID card” from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) . They must be registered or register when they apply. To apply, voters must show the DMV a birth certificate (and if their name changed, maybe a marriage license), plus documents showing their residence. A NC county register of deeds must furnish free the birth certificate and marriage license, but that won’t help voters born out of state.
- EARLY VOTING – Effective Jan. 2014. Early voting is just 10 days; the first week is cut. All sites in a county must be open the same times, except for the county elections office or its alternate. The total hours must equal at least the total hours the county provided in the similar election of 2010 or 2012 unless all local and state board members approve fewer hours.
- NO SAME-DAY REGISTRATION – Effective Jan. 2014. Voters must register at least 25 days before the election. Registered voters may still update their name and address on their voter registration at an Early Voting site.
- NO STRAIGHT PARTY VOTING – Effective Jan. 2014. Straight-ticket voting is eliminated. Voters must mark their preferred candidate in each race on the ballot. Candidates will be listed in order of the party of the Governor.
- NO OUT-OF-PRECINCT VOTING – Effective Jan. 2014. Provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct on Election Day will not count. Vote in your home precinct on Election Day.
- MAIL-IN ABSENTEE VOTING – Effective Jan. 2014. Absentee ballot requests must be on a form from the county elections board. (Groups can mass mail forms to their favorite voters.) The form asks for your ID number (from a DMV photo ID or last 4 digits on your Social Security card) or you may mail in one of these documents with your name and current address: a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or any government document. The elections office will then send you the ballot. Mail the completed ballot back in the envelope provided. It must have the voter’s signature; the signatures and addresses of two witnesses OR one notary public (who can’t charge a fee), and the name, address and signature of anyone assisting a voter unable to sign.
- POLL HOURS – Effective Jan. 2014. County elections boards may no longer order polls to stay open an extra hour due to problems. If there is a delay in opening or a problem, only the State Board of Elections may extend the closing time by an equal number of minutes.
- REGISTRATION DRIVES – Jan. 2014. People doing voter registration may not be paid based on the number of completed forms they submit, but they may be paid for their time.
- MORE POLL “OBSERVERS” – Effective Jan. 2014. In addition to appointing two “observers” to monitor action inside each voting place, local political parties can appoint 10 more per county and put up to three in any polling place.
- MORE CHALLENGES OF VOTERS – Effective Jan. 2014. Any NC voter can challenge a voter as not being registered or violating another rule. On Election Day, a challenger must be from the voter’s county. The old law said any challenger must be from the voter’s precinct. These changes open the door to mass challenges and vigilantes causing trouble at the polls.
- INCREASE CONTRIBUTION LIMITS – Effective Jan. 2014. Contribution limits to a local or state candidate or PAC will go up from $4,000 to $5,000 per election and increase every two years to keep up with inflation. Limits for all judicial candidates jump from $1,000 to $5,000 per election.
- MORE SECRET MONEY IN ELECTIONS – Effective Jan. 2014. Because of changes in disclosure rules, outside groups may spend unlimited amounts on nasty ads against a candidate or on other “electioneering” expenses, using money from virtually any source, from the May primary to Sept. 7 of the election year, without revealing the source or amounts to the public or State Board of Elections. Mystery money from corporations or other sources may also be spent on electioneering in odd-number years against candidates. Even for the period when disclosure is required, the public will get less information: The new law ends a requirement that print ads and mailers by outside groups include a list of the top five donors financing the ad.
- CORPORATE MONEY TO PARTIES – Effective Jan. 2014. The law increases the ways corporate money may be received and spent by a political party’s “building fund.” It may be used to pay for up to 3 staff, supplies, travel, and fundraising, not just for upkeep of the party’s building.
- NO MORE “STAND BY YOUR AD” – Effective Jan. 2014. North Carolina’s pioneering Stand By Your Ad law ends. It required the candidate or CEO to appear in TV or radio ads saying, “I am (xxxx) and I approve this message.” Candidates must include a small photo in TV ads for at least two seconds, but no similar acknowledgement is required in their radio ads or ads by parties or independent groups.
- SPECIAL ELECTIONS – Effective Jan. 2014. The new law standardizes the dates for special elections called by local governments and makes various changes in how vacant offices are filled. Certain vacancies on the NC Court of Appeals and Supreme Court will be filled with a plurality election rather than by instant runoff.
- CANDIDATE NAMES ON BALLOT – Effective Jan. 2014. In partisan races, the candidate(s) of the governor’s party appear first, in alpha order, then those of the other major party. The law lowers the number of petition signers a candidate needs to be on the ballot without paying a filing fee.
- ELECTION CYCLE & DISCLOSURE – Effective Jan. 2014. The election cycle is changed to sync up with the calendar year, rather than end with the November election. Studies are authorized to exam numerous potential changes in campaign disclosure laws and other regulations.
- REDISTRICTING RECORDS – Effective Jan. 2014. The law codifies a NC Supreme Court ruling that records to and from private attorneys hired by legislators for the re-districting process are not subject to the open records law.
- PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY – Effective Jan. 2016. If South Carolina holds its presidential primary before March 15, then NC will hold its the next Tuesday. (This is aimed at helping NC voters pick the nominees.) The May primary would still be held for other candidates.
- TOUCH SCREEN VOTING – Effective Jan. 2018. Touch screen voting machines will be banned unless they produce a paper ballot that is the voter’s official record.
I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.
So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.
On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.
The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.
The Common Core educational standards were developed by a consortium of 48 states, led by their governors and chief state school officers. In 2010, the North Carolina Board of Education became an early adopter of the the new Common Core educational standards as part of our state’s Standard Course of Study. This giant step forward has become a lightning rod for the radical right, including Glenn Beck and our own Lt. Governor Dan Forest, as an attack on the 10th amendment and that Common Core is a federal take-over of public education.
These standards came out of several years of discussions and analysis with the Council of State School Officers and the National Governors Association to develop a more rigorous set of educational standards and to bring states in-line with a set of common core educational standards.
The Common Core is an updating of the state’s curriculum standards to reflect a changing world and economy. Part of this initiative is funded by the federal government’s Race to the Top program, thereby enhancing the ability of the state to implement these new standards as part of Superintendent June Atkinson's educational remodeling efforts.
Today, 45 states have adopted these standards championed by governors and state school officers from across the political spectrum. These standards were developed utilizing research and evidence in learning for math and English/language arts. The standards seek to offer consistency across the United States, up the rigor of North Carolina’s schools, prepare students for college and the work force and to make America’s students more competitive in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Additionally, state standards differ dramatically when it comes to end of course examinations. In 2006, Mississippi had 91% of its students passed a math exam on the first attempt. Yet that same year only 60% of students graduated high school. Compare that to Arizona where 65% of students passed a math exam on the first attempt, but 73% of its students graduated that year. Under the old system it is too hard to compare each state with such varying degrees of accountability and standards. With Common Core and with many states sharing one curriculum, North Carolina can develop shared assessments with other states as well as more accurately compare our student performance to those of other states.
What is important to highlight is that the Common Core program is not a program designed by the federal government nor constitutes a federal take-over of educational programs by the federal government as each state tailors these standards to meet their own needs with local LEAs and parents implementing those standards at the local level. What it does seek to accomplish is a state-based educational standards system that reduces discrepancies from state to state. For example, a child who moves from Des Moines, Iowa to Cherokee, North Carolina should be able to enter a new classroom without falling behind because of different standards.
Simply put the Common Core curriculum provides equity across state lines in the quality of the public school curriculum. But don't just take my word for it. Recently Superintendent Atkinson told News and Observer: "How can people argue against teaching North Carolina students to read, write, speak and listen? How could that be of the devil? How can that be bad for kids? I am so disappointed people would want to make this a political football."
A key principle of conservatives has always been that the government closest to the people is more responsive to the needs of the people and better connected. However, lately that principle is nothing more than a hollow talking point.
In the last few months, Raleigh Republicans have taken Asheville’s city water system; moved to make local non-partisan elections partisan; invalidated the Dix property lease from the City of Raleigh; and is in the process of taking Charlotte-Douglas International Airport from the authority of the City of Charlotte.
Of course, there’s also our own local examples of the General Assembly refusing to re-authorize Chapel Hill’s voter owned election program and members of the General Assembly attempting to invalidate local ordinances against public smoking.
Our local leaders better understand the needs of our communities and craft policies which respond to those needs and are in line with the values of those communities. It it appears if leaders in Raleigh do not trust those who are closest to the people to govern effectively. Yet they expect local government to take on more responsibilities with fewer resources and even fewer choices.
Perhaps it is best summed up by saying that GOP leaders in Raleigh do not trust folks like our local elected leaders because they don’t like advocating policies they don’t like.
Let’s keep important local policy decision making where it belongs — locally — and urge leadership in Raleigh to focus on the real issues effecting our state like high unemployment, strengthening our education system, and covering the uninsured in our state.
– Matt Hughes