North Carolina voters will need to take a photo ID along with them to the polls next year. That ID must by law reasonably resemble the person. The State Board of Election has drafted rules to lay out what that means and is holding public hearings on them across the state, including one in Charlotte Monday night.
These rules will tell poll workers how to judge whether a photo ID matches a voter’s registration. That may seem pretty straight forward, but there are lots of reasons the two may not match up exactly. For example, someone moves.
“It can take five weeks to get your ID address updated so you may be out of luck if they did a hard and fast enforcement of that,” says Bob Hall with Democracy North Carolina.
But the state board of elections doesn’t plan to. Its proposal would allow people to vote if the address on someone’s photo ID is different from the one on the registration rolls. It would also allow for some variation in names like the use of an initial for a first name or using a maiden name instead of a married one.
Hall’s group has advocated against the photo ID law, but he says in the context of what he calls a bad law, these rules are pretty good.
“It allows for some flexibility, which is important. That’s why we think it’s a better set of rules,” says Hall.
It would take the agreement of all three precinct judges representing both parties to decide someone can’t vote because there’s too much of a difference between that person’s ID and registration.