• By Michelle Bobadilla
  • Posted Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Voters Can Now Get Free Photo ID Cards from County Boards of Elections

Raleigh, N.C. — Registered voters who do not have an acceptable identification card for voting in North Carolina can now go to their county board of elections office to get a free ID.

Most voters have a North Carolina driver’s license, which is an acceptable form of photo ID for voting. Those voters do not need to obtain a separate ID from their county board. Other common forms of acceptable ID include military or veterans ID cards issued by the federal government, and college student and public employer ID cards that the State Board approved for use in voting. For a full list of acceptable forms of photo ID for voting, see the State Board’s website at Voter ID.

Registered voters who do not have an acceptable form of identification for voting purposes can now get a free photo ID from their county board of elections office. No special documents are needed. Voters will simply provide their name, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken.

In most counties, voters will be able to get an ID printed and given to them on the spot. A few counties may need to get the required information from the voter, take their photo, then mail the ID card to the voter or inform the voter that the ID card is ready to be picked up, whichever the voter prefers. Voters with questions about the ID process should contact their county board of elections.

A free voter photo ID will include the voter’s photo, name, and registration number. They will expire 10 years from the date of issuance. The county boards of elections can issue cards at any time during regular business hours, except for the period following the last day of early voting through Election Day.

“Any voter who does not have an acceptable ID card for voting can now get a free ID from their county board of elections,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “State Board staff has worked diligently with the county boards of elections over the past couple of months to get the necessary software and hardware in place for ID printing.”

Voters also can get a free ID from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). Find more information under “No-Fee ID Cards” at State IDs | NCDMV.

Background on the Voter Photo ID Requirement

Voters will be asked to show photo ID when voting in North Carolina, starting with the municipal elections this fall.

All voters will be able to vote with or without an ID. If a voter casting a ballot at the voting site does not provide an acceptable ID, the voter may fill out a Photo ID Exception Form and vote a provisional ballot, or vote a provisional ballot and bring an acceptable ID to the county board of elections office by the day before the county canvass (which is typically 10 days after elections in even-numbered years and seven days after elections in odd-numbered years).

Voters who vote by mail will be asked to include a photocopy of an ID with their ballot, or complete a Photo ID Exception Form for Absentee Voting. The photocopy will be mailed in a special envelope to protect the voter’s personal information on their ID.

For more information on the photo ID requirement, see “Voter ID".