jessica terrell

Jessica Terrell of the NC State Board of Elections presenting a seminar at the Avery County Senior Center. The photo ID changes will not go into effect until 2020.

NEWLAND — A pair of voter ID seminars mandated by the state were held at the Avery County Senior Center and The Dive-In Pool Complex on Aug. 19.

The seminars, presented by Jessica Terrell of the N.C. State Board of Elections, covered the new voter photo ID requirement mandated by the state to take effect for the 2020 elections.

Avery County BOE Director Sheila Ollis said the board sent out invitations to try to generate turnout for the seminars, which each drew small crowds.

Every county is required to have at least two of the seminars. People working at precincts will be trained on what forms of identification are valid and what to do if someone shows up to the polls without a valid form or none at all.

If someone shows up to vote without proper identification that person will have to submit a provisional ballot.

Ollis said she is not concerned about the amount of provisional ballots the change will generate.

“The max we’ve ever had was maybe 150, and that’s just peanuts,” Ollis said.

The following is a full explanation of the acceptable forms of identification and how to get them. The change will not affect upcoming municipal elections this year, but will affect elections beginning next year, including primaries.

There is a long list of valid forms of identification, two of the most common are N.C. driver licenses and non-operator IDs. These forms of identification can even be used after they have been expired for up to a year.

U.S. passports and passport cards can also be used, with the same rule that those forms can still be used after being expired for a year.

There are a number of less-common forms of photo ID that have no expiration and can be used indefinitely, including military and veteran ID cards, tribal cards and state-recognized tribal cards.

Approved student ID cards from public or private universities and colleges are also valid, and do not need expiration dates until 2021.

Approved employee identification from a state or local government agency, public or charter school or public university are also valid.

Driver licenses and non-operator IDs from other states, territories and commonwealths of the U.S. are also valid if the voter registered within 90 days of the election and the identification has not been expired for more than a year.

For anyone older than 65, expired forms of ID are accepted as long as they had not expired by the person’s 65th birthday.

Anyone with no form of photo ID can get a Voter Identification Card free of charge from the county board of elections office. The Avery County Board of Elections office is located in the courthouse complex in Newland. The cards are valid for 10 years and to get one a voter needs to provide name, date of birth and the last four digits of his or her Social Security Number.

Voters can get a Voter ID Card the last day of early voting or Election Day. If a card is lost or damaged it can be replaced for free. Anyone who changes their name can have a new card made free of charge as well.

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