A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO RESTORE CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT BY ESTABLISHING THE VOTER INFORMATION VERIFICATION ACT TO PROMOTE THE ELECTORAL PROCESS THROUGH EDUCATION AND INCREASED REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AND BY REQUIRING VOTERS TO PROVIDE PHOTO IDENTIFICATION BEFORE VOTING TO PROTECT THE RIGHT OF EACH REGISTERED VOTER TO CAST A SECURE VOTE WITH REASONABLE SECURITY MEASURES THAT CONFIRM VOTER IDENTITY AS ACCURATELY AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT RESTRICTION, AND TO FURTHER REFORM THE ELECTION LAWS.
Advisory Board. Establishes the Voter Information Verification Advisory Board (Advisory Board, or VIVA), with at least three, but no more than five, members who are registered voters in the state and appointed by the State Board of Elections (State Board). Also requires that appointments include members of more than one party affiliation and of no affiliation. Specifies the Advisory Board's eight duties, including assisting in voter registration drives, educating the public about voter registration and casting a ballot, and assisting in other matters related to voter registration, voting, counting ballots, and candidacy for elected office.
Amends GS 163-82.20 to allow a county, with approval by the State Board, county board of elections, and the county board of commissioners, to offer registration through (1) senior centers or facilities operated by the county and (2) parks and recreation services operated by the county.
Allows the State Board to hire up to 14 people to assist the Advisory Board, to disseminate information about photo identification requirements for voting, provide information on obtaining photo ID, and assist registered voters without appropriate photo ID with obtaining the necessary ID. Specifies the mediums that may be used to distribute information. Requires the State Board to work to identify voters without photo ID and assist those individuals with securing appropriate photo ID. The hired individuals must be state employees, and the positions are time-limited, expiring on December 31, 2016.
Expires December 31, 2016.
Photo Identification. Enacts new GS 163-166.13 requiring every individual voting in person to present photo identification bearing any reasonable resemblance to that voter to a local election official at the voting place before voting. Allows voters without photo ID to vote a provisional ballot. Defines photo identification to include any of the following that contains a photo of the voter: (1) an ID card bearing either a date of expiration or a date of issuance that is not more than 10 years beyond the later of those dates, issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States, this state, or any other state (sets out examples including a NC driver's license or permit, special ID for nonoperators, passport, or college ID card); (2) a tribal identification card; or (3) an identification card that bears a date of expiration and was not expired on the day the voter reached age 70, issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States, this state, or any other state. Provides that if the local election official determines that the photo ID does not bear any reasonable resemblance to the voter, the official must require the chief judge and judges of election to rule on the matter. If the judges disagree with each other about whether the ID bears a reasonable resemblance to the voter, then the voter may vote; if they agree that the voter's ID does not bear any reasonable resemblance to the voter, the voter may vote in accordance with GS 163-88.1 (request for challenged ballot). Specifies that the statute does not apply to a registered voter who has filed an affidavit in accordance with new GS 163-82.7A and to a registered voter who has a permanent physical or mental disability.
Enacts new GS 163-82.7A allowing a voter with a sincerely held religious objection to being photographed to execute a declaration to that effect to be incorporated as a part of the official record of voter registration. Requires the declaration to include an attestation that the voter holds a sincere religious objection to being photographed and the signature of the voter, under penalty of a Class I felony.
Makes conforming changes to GS 163-82.6A, GS 163-166.7, and GS 163-227.2.
Enacts new GS 163-182.1A to require a voter who cast a provisional ballot as a result of the voter's inability or declination to provide photo ID to provide the photo ID, in person, to the county board of elections no later than the time set for convening the election canvass under GS 163-182.5, in order to seek the counting of that voter's provisional official ballot as provided in the statute. If the voter provides valid photo ID, requires the county board of elections to find that the provisional ballot is valid and direct that it be counted, unless it is disqualified for some other reason. Allows for affidavits by those losing photo ID due to a natural disaster as well as for sincerely held religious objections to being photographed. Specifies process for when a voter casting a provisional ballot as described in the statute has also also cast a provisional ballot for another reason.
Amends GS 163-87 to allow a registered voter to challenge a person for failure to present proof of photo identification as required under GS 163-166.13.
Effective January 1, 2016, and applies to primaries and elections conducted on or after that date.
Implementation. Amends GS 20-37.7(d) to provide that the fee for a special identification card does not apply to a person who is registered to vote in the state but does not have acceptable photo identification. In order to get the card for free, requires the registered voter to sign a sworn statement, which includes a statement that paying the fee would present a financial hardship. Amends GS 130A-93.1 to prohibit charging the fee for vital records copies or search to a registered voter who signs a sworn statement that the voter is registered, does not have a certified copy of his or her birth certificate necessary to obtain acceptable photo ID, and that paying the fee would present a financial hardship. Makes the same change to GS 161A-10(a)(8) concerning birth certificates and marriage licenses. Amends GS 163-229(b) to amend the requirements to absentee ballot container-return envelopes to require that they also provide for (1) the voter's signature; (2) space for the identification of two persons witnessing the casting of the ballot and their signatures; (3) space for identification of any near relative or verifiable legal guardian who assisted the voter if the voter is unable to complete and sign the certification, and the individual's signature; and (4) a prominent display of the unlawful acts under GS 163-226.3. Amends GS 163-230.1 to require a qualified voter desiring to vote by absentee ballot to complete a request form, an absentee application, and absentee ballot so that the county board of elections receives that completed request by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election. Amends GS 163-230.2 to provide that a written request for an absentee ballot is valid only if it is on a form generated by the State Board and signed by the voter making the request or that voter's near relative or verifiable legal guardian. Requires the form to be available at specified locations. Allows a voter to make a request in person or by writing to the county board for the form to request an absentee ballot. Requires the request form to include at least the specified information, including the number of the voter's driver's license, the number of the voter's special ID card, or the last four digits of the applicant's Social Security number. The complete request must be delivered to the county board of elections. If the voter does not include the specified identification number information, then the request form must include a copy of one of the following documents that shows the name and address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document. Amends GS 163-231 to require an absentee ballot to be witnessed by two (was, one) individuals. Makes clarifying changes.
Specifies eight ways in which the public is to be educated about the photo ID requirements. Also amends GS 163-278.69 to require the Judicial Voter Guide to include information about the photo ID requirement. Allows funds from the surcharge on attorney membership fees under GS 84-34, collected on or after July 1, 2013, to be used for the Judicial Voter guide, as provided in amended GS 163-278.69.
Requires the State Board of Elections to study and report to the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee on or before April 1, 2014, on a secure and feasible method of creating and utilizing electronic pollbooks with digital photos of registered voters. Specifies issues to be addressed in the study.
Effective Date. Unless otherwise specified, effective when the act becomes law.
Provides that at any election between August 1, 2013, and January 1, 2016, any registered voter may present that voter's photo identification to the elections officials at the voting place, but may not be required to do so. At each election between August 1, 2013, and January 1, 2016, each voter presenting in person shall be notified that photo identification will be needed to vote beginning in 2016 and be asked if that voter has one of the forms of photo identification appropriate for voting. If that voter indicates he or she does not have one or more of the types of photo identification appropriate for voting, that voter shall be asked to sign an acknowledgment of the photo identification requirement, be given a list of types of photo identification appropriate for voting, and information on how to obtain those types of photo identification. The list of names of those voters who signed an acknowledgment is a public record.
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