AN ACT TO EXPAND VOTER ACCESS BY ESTABLISHING A VOTING PORTAL FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED VOTERS TO VOTE BY ABSENTEE BALLOT ONLINE, ALLOWING FOR THE ONLINE SUBMISSION OF VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATION FORMS, AND STATING THE INTENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO FUND A PROGRAM TO IDENTIFY AND ASSIST VOTERS NEEDING PHOTO IDENTIFICATION.
Enacts GS 163-231.1, allowing visually impaired eligible voters to request to vote by absentee ballot and vote by absentee ballot online using the visually impaired portal maintained by the State Board of Elections (State Board). Requires indication of the desire to access the portal on the request, as well as compliance with all other state law requirements concerning absentee ballot requests. Directs county boards to communicate with the requester by email and send a link to the portal. Provides for electronic signatures to be used for the voter and witnesses using the portal. Makes conforming changes to GS 163-230.2 (regarding written request for absentee ballots) and GS 162-231 (regarding the transmission of executed absentee ballots).
Enacts GS 163-82.5A allowing an individual to register to vote online if the individual: (1) is either registered or eligible to register to vote and (2) possesses a current and valid North Carolina driver's license (including a learner's permit or provisional license) or a special identification card for nonoperators. Requires the State Board to establish a secure website for the completion and submission of voter registration applications to register or update registration. Specifies information that the website must allow an individual to submit, including the individual's email address. Requires the State Board, upon receipt of an online application and all required information, to verify specified applicant information. Requires the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to transfer the applicant's digital signature in the DMV records to the State Board if the State Board verifies the driver's license or Social Security number, and the State Board to forward the application to the appropriate county board for verification. Requires the State Board to deny the application if the State Board cannot verify the driver's license, date of birth or Social Security number. Authorizes the State Board to adopt implementing rules. Specifies that the State Board is not prohibited from adopting rules that provide for immediate verification of the individual's application. Makes conforming and technical changes to GS 163-82.6 (regarding the acceptance of voter registration forms). Allows the State Board to begin rulemaking to implement the new statute's provisions before December 1, 2021, so long as no temporary or permanent rule becomes effective prior to that date. Authorizes the State Board to initiate any needed requests for proposals for development of the secure internet site prior to December 1, 2021.
Makes conforming changes and corrects a statutory cross-reference in GS 163-82.3, regarding the acceptance of voter registration forms.
Amends GS 163-82.10 to add specified identifying information submitted during the online voter registration application process to the information that is confidential.
States legislative intent to fund a program in the 2021-22 budget for the State Board to identify individuals who need photo ID to vote in person, which can include a mobile component to enable registration for individuals identified.
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