Click the links below to jump to specific parts of this page to learn about the photo ID requirement for voting in North Carolina.
- Photo ID Required for Voting
Photo ID Required for Voting
Voters will be asked to show photo ID when voting in North Carolina.
For most voters, they will simply show their driver’s license. But there are many other acceptable photo IDs.
If a voter does not have an acceptable photo ID, they can get one for free from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). Find more information under “No-Fee ID Cards” at State IDs | NCDMV. Soon, voters will also be able to get free ID from their county board of elections.
All voters will be allowed to vote with or without a photo ID. If a voter cannot show photo ID when voting in person, they can still vote by filling out an ID Exception Form. For absentee-by-mail voters, if they are unable to include a copy of their photo ID in their ballot return envelope, they can also fill out an ID Exception Form with their ballot. Find more information under ID Exceptions below.
Voters must show an acceptable photo ID when they check in at their voting site during early voting or on Election Day. Election workers check to see if the picture on the ID reasonably resembles the voter. The address on the photo ID does not have to match the voter registration records.
If the voter does not show an acceptable ID, the voter may proceed in one of the two following ways:
- vote with an ID Exception Form and a provisional ballot, or
- vote with a provisional ballot and return to their county board of elections office with their photo ID by the day before county canvass. (For municipal elections in September and October, this deadline is the Monday following Election Day. For all other elections, the deadline is the second Thursday following Election Day.)
Voters who vote by mail must include a photocopy of an acceptable ID inside the “photo ID envelope” that comes with their ballot. Or they may complete an ID Exception Form with the absentee ballot return envelope.
Acceptable Photo IDs for Voting
Any of the following that is unexpired, or expired for one year or less:
- North Carolina driver’s license
- State ID from the NCDMV (also called “non-operator ID”)
- Driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, District of Columbia or U.S. territory (only if voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election)
- U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card
- North Carolina voter photo ID card issued by a county board of elections (available soon)
- College or university student ID approved by the State Board of Elections
- State or local government or charter school employee ID approved by the State Board of Elections
Note: A voter 65 or older may use an expired form of acceptable ID if the ID was unexpired on their 65th birthday.
Any of the following, regardless of whether the ID contains an expiration or issuance date:
- Military or veterans ID card issued by the U.S. government
- Tribal enrollment card issued by a tribe recognized by the State or federal government
- ID card issued by an agency of the U.S. government or the State of North Carolina for a public assistance program
Approval Process Launched for Student and Government Employee IDs for Voting
The State Board of Elections is encouraging eligible educational institutions and government agencies to apply to have their student and employee photo IDs approved for voting purposes in upcoming elections.
Free Photo ID Cards
Any North Carolina resident can get a free non-driver’s ID card from the DMV. Find more information under “No-Fee ID Cards” at State IDs | NCDMV.
Additionally, all county boards of elections will soon be able to issue free voter photo IDs to registered voters in their county. To be issued a free voter photo ID card, the voter must provide their name, date of birth, and the last four numbers of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken.
If any voter is unable to show photo ID when voting (whether in person or by mail), they may fill out an ID Exception Form and vote their ballot. The voter will choose from the following permitted exceptions.
- The voter has a “reasonable impediment” to showing photo ID. This means that something is preventing the voter from showing ID. The voter must provide their reason by selecting from the following choices on the form.
- Lack of transportation
- Disability or illness
- Lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain ID
- Work schedule
- Family responsibilities
- Lost or stolen photo ID
- Photo ID applied for but not yet received
- (For mail voters only) Unable to attach a copy of photo ID
- Other reasonable impediment (if selected, the voter must write the reason on the form)
- The voter has a religious objection to being photographed.
- The voter was a victim of a natural disaster within 100 days before Election Day.
County boards of elections must count provisional ballots with properly completed ID Exception Forms.
Find answers to questions about North Carolina's photo ID requirement for voting at FAQ: Voter ID.