While the 2020 election is still more than seven months away, state and county officials are already preparing ways to allows voters to cast their ballots safely in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles customers can now register to vote online, the North Carolina State Board of Elections announced on Monday in a press release.
Before this announcement, the only way voter registration and updates to voter registration could be done through the DMV was when a customer was completing a transaction, such as a license renewal.
Now, customers don't need to complete a transaction in order to register to vote or update a registration, and the service is free. DMV customers can apply to register, change their voter address or their political party affiliation through the NCDMV voter registration website.
This applies to both people with a driver's license or a DMV-issued ID.
This announcement comes after NCSBE Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell sent a letter to the General Assembly regarding recommendations for safe election practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These suggestions include improving the accessibility and simplicity of absentee by-mail voting, ensuring poll worker availability and funding to cover the costs of these improvements, according to the press release.
Rachel Raper, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, said these recommendations will help the state be prepared for the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 as elections draw closer.
“It’s not just that we need to pursue a new process, it’s that we have to have these changes in statute,” Raper said. “It’s really up to the General Assembly to make those changes.”