North Carolina approves voter ID requirement, appoints county board members

Early voting at Craven County Administration Building during the 2022 Elections. (Wendy Card)
Early voting at Craven County Administration Building during the 2022 Elections. (Wendy Card)

The State Board of Elections on Tuesday unanimously approved temporary rules related to the implementation of the photo ID requirement for voting in North Carolina elections.

Voters will be asked to show photo ID when voting in person and via absentee ballot, starting with this fall’s municipal elections. The agency is proposing rules to ensure uniform, standard implementation of the photo ID requirements in all 3,000-plus polling locations and among all 100 county boards of elections.

One of the approved rules focuses on implementing the ID requirements for in-person voting (08 NCAC 17 .0101 (PDF)), and one focuses on the ID requirements for absentee voting (08 NCAC 17 .0109 (PDF)).

During a public comment period from June 5–23, agency staff received more than 1,300 comments about the proposed rules, and, in some cases, modified language in the rules in response to the comments.

After the agency submits the adopted rules to the Rules Review Commission, the Commission will determine whether to approve or reject the rules under Standards and timetable for review by Commission. N.C.G.S. § 150B-21.9.

The Board also unanimously approved a “Photo ID Exception Form (PDF)” for in-person voters and a “Photo ID Exception Form for Absentee Voting (PDF).” Under Requirement for photo identification to vote in person. N.C.G.S. § 163-166.16, the State Board must adopt a reasonable impediment exemption form which must, “at a minimum,” include specific reasons listed in the statute that a voter may select. Any voter who claims an exception to presenting photo ID – due to a reasonable impediment, religious objection to being photographed, or a recent natural disaster – must attest that they are the voter casting the ballot, they are voting a provisional ballot, and they qualify for the exception.

County Board Member Appointments

The State Board also appointed four board members – two Democrats and two Republicans – to each of the 100 county boards of elections. The appointed members are the #1 and #2 nominees for each party in each county in the Party Nominations for County Board Member 2023 spreadsheet.

Their terms will begin when they are sworn in on July 18. County board members serve two-year terms.

“We are happy to welcome new members to North Carolina’s elections team,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board. “Together, we will continue to ensure that our elections are accessible, safe, and secure, and that every eligible vote counts.”

Gov. Roy Cooper will appoint the chair to each county board.

Declaratory Rulings

The State Board also responded to two requests by the state and national Republican parties to issue declaratory rulings. First, the Board unanimously ruled that state law does not impose a four-hour shift requirement on at-large election observers at polling locations and that any administrative rules or guidance to the contrary should not be enforced.

Second, the Board unanimously confirmed that the deadline extension requirements in Acts to be done on Sunday or holidays. N.C.G.S. § 103-5 also apply to receipt deadlines for absentee ballots. The statute states when the last day for doing any act under law falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday when the public office is closed, the act may be performed on the next day that the public office is open. Accordingly, when the absentee ballot receipt deadline falls on Veterans’ Day, a public holiday when the mail does not run, ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the next business day after Veterans’ Day should be counted.

By NC State Board of Elections