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NC Universities Scramble To Meet Deadline To Get Student IDs Approved For Voting

Voting booths at Hermosa Beach City Hall during California Primary.
Voting booths at Hermosa Beach City Hall during California Primary.

Public universities in North Carolina are working to meet a Friday deadline to get student IDs approved as an acceptable form of voter ID.

General Counsel for the UNC System Tom Shanahan said his office expects each of the 17 institutions within the system to submit letters Wednesday formally requesting approval.

“We are hopeful that the Board will approve those requests and agree with what we believe is both the legislative intent and the legislative requirement for these identification cards,” Shanahan said.

He said the system is working to “ensure there are no barriers for… students and employees at the voting booth.” 

[Related Content: Student IDs A Point Of Contention In Voter ID Bill]

In order to meet the requirements under the state ID law, schools must check a student’s citizenship status, Social Security number and birthdate to confirm their identity.

Voters last November approved a constitutional amendment requiring people to have photo IDs to vote. A law passed by the General Assembly in December directed how IDs would be implemented but had envisioned the requirement beginning with voters in municipal elections later this year.

But special elections in the state’s 3rd and 9th districts raised questions about whether IDs should be used in 2019 elections, even though rules surrounding their implementation remain unfinished.

Republicans in the General Assembly are pushing legislation to delay the voter ID requirement until the 2020 election. The bill, which was approved by the Senate Tuesday, will reach the House Wednesday and then move on to the governor.

The legislation advanced while the future of the constitutional amendment mandating photo voter ID is unclear. A trial judge last month voided the amendment, saying it was put on the ballot by a version of the General Assembly that lacked authority to propose alterations because of racial bias in House and Senate districts from which many lawmakers were elected.

An appeals court set aside the judge's ruling temporarily last week. The December law also is the subject of two pending lawsuits.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.