Bill Summary for S 721 (2013-2014)

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Summary date: 

Apr 5 2013

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
Senate Bill 721 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Intro. by Newton.

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Bill summary

Voter photo identification. Amends GS 163-166.12 to require every individual seeking to vote in person to present a valid photo identification. Enumerates eight valid types of identification, including a North Carolina driver's license, a special ID for nonoperators, and a passport. Enacts new GS 163-166.13 to require each county board of elections to issue voter ID cards without charge upon presentation of specified documentation. Lists information included on the voter identification card and provides additional information on the cards. Makes conforming changes to GS 163-82.6A and provides that an individual not presenting the required identification may vote a provisional ballot. Makes conforming changes to 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 date of the conclusion of the election canvass for that county to seek counting of the provisional official ballot. If the voter provides valid photo ID and executes the required affidavit, 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 with 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 163-166.12. Also allows observers to enter challenges.

Above provisions are effective (1) in counties not subject to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 beginning with the statewide primary in 2014 and (2) in any county covered by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 beginning with the later of the statewide primary in 2014 or the date this act is precleared or approved under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Amends GS 20-37.7(d) to allow issuance of a DMV special identification card to a registered voter who does not otherwise have required ID to vote; no fee to be charged upon an oath that ID is needed to vote. Makes clarifying changes.

Specifies education and publicity requirements for the photo identification requirement. Appropriates $600,000 from the General Fund for 2013-14 to a special reserve to carry out public service announcements through print, radio, tv, online, and social media, and to provide for issuance of voter identification cards. Allocates the appropriation to specified entities.

Allows funds under the Help America Vote Act, the Election Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities provision of the Help America Vote Act, and unexpended funds in the NC Voter-Owned Elections fund to be used for the education and publicity requirements as well as for the voter identification cards. Allows funds from the surcharge on attorney membership fees to be used for education and publicity requirements as it relates to judicial elections.

Above provisions become effective July 1, 2013.

Restoration of citizenship. Amends GS 13-1 to add a five-year wait period before restoring citizenship rights (1) upon the conditional discharge of an inmate, of a probationer, or of a parolee by the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety, or of a defendant under a suspended sentence by the court; (2) with regard to any person convicted of a crime against the United States who has been unconditionally discharged; and (3) with regard to any person convicted of a crime in another state and that has been unconditionally discharged. For those subject to the five-year waiting period, the restoration is conditioned upon unanimous approval by the county board of education of a petition for restoration of the right of citizenship, which is to be approved upon satisfying the following conditions: (1) no new felony charge upon the expiration of five years from the charge; (2) applicant has not been convicted of any violation of GS Chapter 163; and (3) the applicant has presented affidavits from two registered voters in the county of the applicant's residence attesting that the applicant is of upstanding moral character, with false affidavits punishable as if it were perjury.

Early voting changes. Amends GS 163-227.2(b) to set the time for early voting as six calendar days (not including Sunday) designated by the county board of elections, during the period beginning the second Tuesday before an election and no later than the last Thursday before the election. Provides that as one of the six days, the county board must conduct one-stop voting on the last Saturday of that period before the election until 1 p.m. and may conduct it until 5 p.m. on that Saturday. Amends GS 163-227.2(f) to require counties operating a modified full-time office to remain open on days where one-stop voting is conducted. Makes conforming changes to GS 163-227.2(g).

Effective date. Effective January 1, 2014.