DURHAM, NC (Jan. 18, 2024) – Southern Coalition for Social Justice and its allies demanded improved, legally compliant voter photo ID rules in a letter this week to the North Carolina State Board of Elections following the 2023 elections, which required voters to present a photo ID to cast a ballot for the first time in nearly a decade.
In the letter, SCSJ, Democracy NC, and Common Cause North Carolina gathered the experiences and reports of voters, volunteers, journalists, and advocates who witnessed wildly different practices and decisions from county boards of elections during the 2023 Municipal Elections, many of which violated the law and voters’ rights. These included:
- Guilford County Board members using speculation and personal opinion to challenge ID Exception forms rather than specific, concrete information. Members also sent accusatory, intimidating and unclear notices to voters.
- Mecklenburg County Board members rejecting 30 ID Exception forms, without specifying any reason for finding them invalid.
- Poll workers in Montgomery and Durham counties inconsistently informing voters of the ID Exception form.
“The issues and inconsistencies with voter photo ID implementation described above deviate from how the law is written and how its staunchest defenders, including legislators, the State Board, and their counsel, insisted the law was intended to work,” the letter states. “Absent a remedy, these issues will harm voters by discouraging them from using the ID Exception Form and by violating their due process rights.”
SCSJ and its allies ask the State Board to clarify its own standards on ID Exception forms, making explicit the limits on a county board’s ability to scrutinize these forms and further clarifying the very specific and very narrow grounds under which a ballot may be rejected for lack of voter photo ID under the law. By creating consistent guidance, the State Board can ensure every eligible voter can have their voice heard at the ballot box without intimidation or unnecessary invalidation.
Any voters who need assistance with voter photo ID are encouraged to call the North Carolina Election Protection hotline at 888-OUR-VOTE (888-687-8683).