Bill Summary for H 1115 (2017-2018)

Summary date: 

Dec 4 2018

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
House Bill 1115 (Public) Filed Monday, December 3, 2018
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION AT DRIVERS LICENSE OFFICES, PUBLIC AGENCIES, COMMUNITY COLLEGES, AND COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA SYSTEM; REQUIRING THE BIPARTISAN STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND ETHICS ENFORCEMENT TO IMPLEMENT AN OUTREACH CAMPAIGN INFORMING CITIZENS ABOUT AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION; ALLOWING INDIVIDUALS WHO MEET THE CRITERIA TO REGISTER TO VOTE OR CHANGE VOTER REGISTRATION ONLINE; REESTABLISHING SAME DAY REGISTRATION, INCLUDING ON ELECTION DAY; REESTABLISHING THE PROGRAM TO PREREGISTER 16 AND 17 YEAR OLDS; AND IMPLEMENTING THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHIC IDENTIFICATION TO VOTE IN PERSON.
Intro. by Meyer, Morey, Farmer-Butterfield, John.

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Bill summary

Part I

Amends GS 163A-883 by requiring, beginning January 1, 2019, that the Division of Motor Vehicles implement a method by which eligible individuals applying for a new, renewal, or correction of a drivers license, or special identification card, are automatically registered to vote or able to update voter registration if the voter has moved. Also amends GS 163A-884 to require, starting January 1, 2020, that offices that accept the following information provide an application process for automatic voter registration when an applicant applies for service or assistance or updates information for such services or assistance: (1) applications for a program of public assistance under Article 2 of GS Chapter 108A or Article 13 of GS Chapter 130A; (2) applications for State-funded State or local government programs providing services to persons with disabilities; or (3) claims for benefits under GS Chapter 96 of the General Statutes, the Employment Security Law. Both statutes include the following. Requires the person taking the application to notify the applicant of six items related to qualifications to vote, penalties for providing false information, and use of information provided by the applicant. Applicants failing to declare party affiliation are designated as unaffiliated. Requires applications to be transmitted electronically to the appropriate board of elections in five business days. Limits use of information related to a declination to register to purposes of voter registration. Requires that information acquired for automatic voter registration be kept confidential. Provides that if a person who is ineligible to vote becomes registered under this statute, the presumption is that the person's registration is officially authorized and is not attributed to any fault of the person. Specifies that the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the agencies in GS 163A-884 are not required to determine eligibility for voter registration and voting.

Makes conforming changes to GS 163A-862 and GS 163A-865 requiring county boards of elections to accept automatic voter registration.

Amends GS 163A-885 by requiring the educational programs and procedures presented to individuals applying to register to vote at the time they are restored to citizenship to include information on automatic voter registration. Makes conforming changes to GS 163A-885, concerning voter registration upon restoration of citizenship. 

Amends GS 115D-5 to require, beginning January 1, 2020, that the State Board of Community Colleges provide each person enrolled and registered for courses in a state community college with the option for automatic voter registration. Also amends GS 116-11 to require the same of the UNC Board of Governors for college and university students. Requires the person taking the application to notify the applicant of six items related to qualifications to vote, penalties for providing false information, and use of information provided by the applicant. Applicants failing to declare party affiliation are designated as unaffiliated. Requires applications to be transmitted electronically to the appropriate board of elections in five business days. Limits use of information related to a declination to register to purposes of voter registration. Requires that information acquired for automatic voter registration be kept confidential. Applications to register accepted under these statutes allow the registrant to vote in any election unless the registrant applies later than the twenty-fifth calendar day immediately preceding such election. Provides that if a person who is ineligible to vote becomes registered under this statute, the presumption is that the person's registration is officially authorized and is not attributed to any fault of the person. Specifies that the State community colleges, State colleges, or universities in the UNC system are not required to determine eligibility for voter registration and voting.

Requires the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to inform voters of the automatic voter registration procedures.

Changes to GS 163A-862, GS 163A-865, GS 163A-883, and GS 163A-885 are effective January 1, 2020. Changes to GS 163A-884, GS 163A-885, GS 115D-5, and GS 116-11 are effective January 1, 2021.

Part II

Enacts new GS 163A-866.5 allowing a person to register to vote and then vote in the person's county of residence on election day or during the one-stop voting period. Requires that the person complete a voter registration form, including the attestation that the person meets each eligibility requirement and provide proof of residence by presenting one of the specified valid documents. A person voting on the same day as registering will vote a retrievable ballot. Sets out requirements for verifying registration and counting the ballot. Allows an individual who will become old enough to register and vote in the general election for which a primary is held, even though they are not so qualified by the date of the primary, to register for the primary and general election before the primary and then vote in the primary and general election after being registered under the statute. 

Makes conforming changes to GS 163A-843, GS 163A-865, GS 163A-1144, GS 163A-1300, GS 163A-1587, and GS 163A-1588.

Part III

Enacts GS 163A-869.1, requiring county boards of elections to issue voter photo identification cards (photo ID cards) to registered voters upon request at no charge beginning no later than July 1, 2019. Describes the cards, requiring that they contain the voter’s photograph and voter registration number and expire eight years after issuance. Requires the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement (State Board) make available to county boards of elections the necessary equipment to print the cards, while county boards operate and maintain the equipment. Directs the State Board to adopt related rules no later than April 15, 2019, including at minimum: (1) requiring registered voters to provide their date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security number to obtain a photo ID card; (2) issuing photo ID cards at any time; and (3) allowing for issuance of duplicate photo ID cards at no charge upon request in person, by phone, or by mail.

Enacts GS 163A-1145.1, setting out the requirement to produce photo identification to vote in person. Outlines acceptable forms of photo identification, regardless of whether expired or without an expiration: NC driver's license; a special identification card or similar card issued by the NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV); a US passport; an NC voter photo ID card; a tribal enrollment card issued by a federally or state recognized tribe; a student ID card issued by an institution of higher learning; a driver's license or special identification card issued by another state, DC, or a US territory so long as the voter’s voter registration was within 90 days of the election; a military identification card; a Veterans Identification Card; any expired acceptable form of ID under the statute if the voter is 70 years old so long as the ID was unexpired on the voter’s 70th birthday; an employee ID card; and a government-issued identification card. Details verification of photo identification presented by an assigned precinct official. Allows registered voters that cannot produce the required photo identification to cast a provisional ballot that will be counted only if the voter brings an acceptable form of photo identification to the county board of elections by the end of business on the business day prior to the county’s canvass. Allows those with a religious objection to being photographed, a reasonable impediment to obtaining a photo identification, or unable to produce a photo ID due to being a victim of a natural disaster to cast a provisional ballot upon completion of an affidavit as described. Provides for the county board of elections to review photo identification exceptions and affidavits. Specifies that the purpose of the required identification is only to confirm the person presenting to vote is the voter on the registration record, and that an address listed on any identification is not determinative of residence for voting purposes.

Amends GS 20-37.7 to allow special identification cards to be issued free of charge to applicants who are at least 17 (was, 70) years old. Makes conforming changes.

Adds an NC voter registration card issued pursuant to GS 163A-869 to the examples of specific documents that are reasonably reliable indicators of residency for purposes of obtaining a driver's license, learner's permit, or special ID card from the DMV.

Makes conforming changes to GS 163A-1137 and GS 163A-1300 concerning presenting photo identification to vote in person.

Directs the State Board to establish an aggressive voter education program concerning the new provisions, including: posting information concerning voter ID changes at each county board of elections, the State Board’s office, and their respective websites; training precinct officials; coordinating with each county board of elections to conduct seminars prior to September 1, 2019; and coordinating with local governments, service organizations, and media outlets to disseminate voter ID changes to the public. Specifically requires the State Board to notify each registered voter who does not have an NC issued driver’s license or identification card by September 1, 2019, of the act’s provisions; the requirements to vote absentee, early, on election day, or by provisional ballot; and state the availability of a free NC voter photo ID card. Requires the State Board to create a list of all registered NC voters who are otherwise qualified to vote but do not have an NC driver's license or other photo identification issued by the NC DMV as of September 1, 2019. Requires the list be made available to any registered voter upon request and at a reasonable fee. Requires the NC DMV to provide the list of persons with an NC driver's license or other photo identification issued by the NC DMV at no cost to the State Board.

Makes conforming changes to repeal Sections 1.1, 5.2, 5.3 (as amended by SL 2015-103), 5.4, and 5.5 of SL 2013-381, the Voter Information Verification Act. 

Makes conforming changes, repealing the following statutes relating to voter identification: GS 163A-868, GS 163A-1140(b), GS 163A-1145, GS 163A-1146, GS 163A-1147, GS 163A-1167, GS 163A-1168, and GS 163A-1301.

Makes conforming changes to GS 163A-869(e), GS 163A-913, GS 130A-93.1(c), GS 161-10(a)(8), GS 163A-1389(13), GS 163A-821, GS 163A-867(g)(2), GS 163A-1133(b), GS 163A-1134(e), GS 163A-1298(a), GS 163A-1300(a) and (i), GS 163A-1303, GS 163A-1306, GS 163A-1308(c), GS 163A-1310(c), GS 163A-1315, GS 163A-1368, GS 163A-1411(41), and GS 163A-1520(a).

Part IV

Amends GS 163A-864, requiring the State Board to make voter registration forms available for completion and submission online.

Enacts GS 163A-864.5, permitting individuals to register to vote or change voter registration online if eligible to vote and possess either an NC driver's license or special identification card issued by the DMV. Requires the State Board to establish a secure website for voters to submit voter registration applications, applications reporting a change of personal information or party affiliation, eligibility information, or the individual’s email address. Provides for verification of online applications, updating of the statewide registration database, and searching for duplicate registrations by the county board of elections and State Board.

Amends GS 163A-871, providing for the confidentiality of any online registration data or email addresses submitted under new GS 163A-864.5. Makes technical and clarifying changes.

Provides Part IV is effective January 1, 2020.

Part V

Amends GS 163A-1300(b), as amended, extending early voting to 1:00 p.m. on the last Saturday before an election (currently, 7:00 p.m. on the last Friday before an election). Additionally requires county boards of elections to conduct one-stop voting on the last Saturday before the election from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., and authorizes county boards to continue one-stop voting until 5:00 p.m. on that Saturday.

Amends GS 163A-1303(c), as amended, concerning the requirement that all one-stop voting sites be open for the same number of hours uniformly throughout a county if a county board of elections opens one-stop sites on Saturdays during the required period under GS 163A-1300(b). Excepts the last Saturday before the election from this requirement.

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