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Why don’t voters have to show an ID to vote?

Jim Ware

UPDATE: Beginning in 2016, North Carolina will require voters to show a photo identification (photo ID) when they come to a polling place to vote.

In 2013, A Republican-led General Assembly passed and Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law changes to the state’s voting laws that included requiring voter IDs, shortening the number of days early voting is permitted, and ending “pre-registration” for 16- and 17-year-olds.

In July 2014, the changes are being challenged in court.


That’s one of the frequently asked questions at the New Hanover County Board of Elections.

Here’s the answer posted at the board’s website:

“It is unlawful for an election official to ask a voter for ID in NC unless the voter is flagged in the Voter Registration record to present ID. The reason a voter would be flagged to present ID is if at the time the voter registered to vote, the voter did not provide (or incorrectly provided) a NC Drivers license number or last four digits of the voter’s social security number on the voter registration form, or neither number could be verified by the NC DMV or the Social Security Administration. If the number provided by the voter is not verified, then the voter (applies to first-time voters, only) must present ID prior to voting.”

Related links:

What agency/group can help me register to vote?

How often must you register to vote in New Hanover County?

Is it possible for poll workers to tamper with voting machine results during the early voting stage?

User-contributed question by:
Don McConville

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5 Responses to “ Why don’t voters have to show an ID to vote?”

  1. On November 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm Michele wrote:

    I thought about that question this time, esp since we voted early. I still think some sort of ID should be presented when voting to confirm.

  2. On November 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm The Wilmington Watcher wrote:

    Easy. Showing ID would threaten Democrats on Election Day.

  3. On November 7, 2010 at 10:40 am Bart Williams wrote:

    It is absurd for positive identification to NOT be required–how about a followup question….How can this election law in NC be changed?

  4. On November 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm Bryan wrote:

    This is an oft-misunderstood issue. A lot of people think that without an ID requirement, somebody could vote fraudulently. But the way the system currently works, i.e. indicating in the voter rolls that the person has shown up and voted, means that the worst you could do is vote in someone else’s place.

    That sounds like a gaping security hole until you realize that if that were happening frequently, there would be many people showing up to vote and being denied on the basis of them already having voted. The frequency with which that happens is directly correlated with the incidence of that type of fraudulent voting.

    So the fact that people being told by the poll workers that they’ve already showed up to vote is almost unheard of means that this ‘hole’ is not being exploited. In other words, it only looks like a gaping security hole until you examine it closely enough.

  5. On November 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm Rita wrote:

    I think that a valid photo ID should be required when you go to vote. It could be a NC DL or NC ID card, etc. If you are a valid NC citizen, it shouldn’t bother you to present a photo ID.

    As for why it is a concern, think about it this way….Maybe you have 5 or 6 relatives that can’t get out and vote due to various reasons so you pretend to be them and go vote in their stead…BUT, you vote the way YOU want to vote, NOT the way they themselves would vote if they were actually there. Multiply that by whatever number you want, but it comes up to be voter FRAUD.

    And I bet it does happen, whether they get caught or not isn’t the issue.

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