Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Prepared Remarks of Karen Brinson Bell (October 18, 2023)

The following are prepared remarks of Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the NC State Board of Elections, at a virtual press availability at 9 a.m.
Raleigh, NC
Oct 18, 2023

The following are prepared remarks of Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the NC State Board of Elections, at a virtual press availability at 9 a.m. October 18, 2023: 

View recording of press availability

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for being here. I’m Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. I’m here with State Board General Counsel Paul Cox, who will help answer questions after my remarks.

Tomorrow, October 19, marks the first day of early voting for voters in about 385 municipalities across North Carolina that have November municipal elections. The in-person early voting period continues through Saturday, November 4.

In all, about 465 cities, towns, and villages in 86 counties are conducting elections this November. Eighty municipalities do not use early or absentee voting. In those cities and towns, all voters cast their ballot on Election Day, which is Tuesday, November 7.

As always, we encourage all eligible voters to cast a ballot in these important municipal elections.

The candidates elected in November will make important decisions for local communities, such as setting tax rates, approving new developments, deciding how many police officers and firefighters to hire, and choosing where to build parks and sidewalks.

If history is a guide, some of these municipal contests will be very, very close, and ties are not unheard of, so every vote matters.

We also want to remind everyone that not all voters in North Carolina will be voting in this November’s local elections. You must live and be registered to vote in a city or town that is holding an election in November. A small number of municipalities hold their elections in even-numbered years. Some held their elections in October and will only vote again in November if there’s a runoff. For those that are voting in November, in some cases, only certain wards or districts are up for election, and you must live in that ward or district to be eligible.

The best place to find whether you’re eligible is through the State Board’s Voter Search tool, which is available at, and by looking for your sample ballot. If you don’t have a sample ballot attached to your voter record, then you are not eligible for any contests in November.

And last but certainly not least, we are here today to help spread the word about the new photo ID requirement for voting.

Voters who go to the polls in this election will be asked to show an acceptable form of photo identification when they check in. This will be a new experience for many voters, so we want to make sure all voters are prepared to make their vote count.

So, what does this mean for voters?

This means that voters should bring an acceptable form of photo ID with them when they go to vote.

Most voters will simply show their driver’s license, but many other types of IDs will be accepted. The list of acceptable IDs is available on the State Board of Elections’ Voter ID webpage,

And any voter who does not have an acceptable form of ID can still get one from their county board of elections between now and the end of the early voting period, November 4.

Simply go to your county elections office, provide your name, date of birth, and last four digits of your Social Security number, and have your photo taken. It’s that easy to get a free ID.

And finally, voters who do not have an ID when it comes time to vote should not let this deter them. They can still vote a provisional ballot and fill out an ID Exception Form. It’s a simple form where the voter will explain why they were unable to show an ID.

There’s another option for a voter who does not have ID when they vote, including if they forget it. They can vote and then return to the county board of elections after Election Day and before the county canvass and show an ID to have their ballot counted. County canvass is the 10th day after Election Day, so a voter who comes back with their ID has up until nine days after Election Day to bring their ID in.

Voters who vote by mail will include a photocopy of their photo ID when they return their ballot. Or, like voters who vote in person, if you vote by mail, you can also fill out an ID Exception Form, explaining why you cannot include a photocopy of your ID with your ballot.

If you still have questions, comprehensive information about the photo ID requirement is available on the State Board’s Voter ID webpage,


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