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UNC submits official request to approve One Cards as valid voter ID

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"I voted" stickers were distributed at polling stations located in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History during Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

UNC recently submitted a request for its students to be able to use their University-issued One Cards as their photo ID to vote as part of a North Carolina State Board of Elections initiative.

If approved, UNC students' One Cards could be used as a valid voter ID starting during the 2023 municipal elections and would be valid through both the primary and general presidential elections in 2024.

Currently, voters in North Carolina are asked to show an ID, most commonly their driver’s license, when they arrive at the polls. The voter ID requirement was reinstated by the N.C. Supreme Court in April.

Theodore White, the president of UNC Young Democrats, said that voter ID requirements make voting more difficult to navigate.

“A lot of these restrictions will directly impact students,” Thomas Crowe-Allbritton, a policy intern for Democracy North Carolina, said. “Voter ID is a big one that will especially impact students, and make it more difficult, and more likely we'll see a drop off of the number of students that actually go out to vote.”

During the 2020 election cycle, the state board of elections released a list of all of the colleges and universities that applied for their institution’s ID as voter ID and if they were approved, Crowe-Allbrittion said. 

“The main issue that universities have ran into is the fact that a lot of university IDs don't have expiration dates,” he said. 

Sloan Duvall, the secretary for UNC Young Democrats, said that for the current approval process, each chancellor of North Carolina universities had to reapply for student IDs to be approved and all student IDs must have a photo and expiration date.

UNC Pembroke and N.C. A&T have had issues with this in the past, Crowe-Allbritton said. He also said that his main worry was that out-of-state students at schools whose IDs are not approved will face roadblocks to voting.

Jean-Patrick Grillet, the research manager for Democracy North Carolina, said that since the voter ID requirement is effective immediately, students should have government-issued IDs and a plan to vote as soon as possible.

"There's many nuances and complexities in our voting system and voting in municipal elections, voting in primaries gives young voters the experience and the confidence to walk into polling locations during early voting on Election Day and know how to vote and know that their vote is going to be counted," Duvall said.

Despite the reinstatement of the voter ID requirement in April, legislation currently in the N.C. General Assembly may change election procedures this fall.

Senate Bill 747, called Election Law Changes, passed the N.C. Senate on June 21 and is currently waiting on a vote in the N.C. House.

S.B. 747 proposed a number of changes to the election process — including changing the deadline for the county boards of election to receive absentee ballots from three days after Election Day to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

White said allowing student IDs at the polls is an easy and quick way to increase student access to the ballot box.

“I personally believe that it’s important for students to get involved in this process, and it’s hard to — unless you’re getting involved in another type of way or another form of civic engagement —  it’s hard to truly complain or have gripes about a system that you’ve put no effort into changing,” he said. 

@eliza_benbow | @wslivingston_

@dailytarheel | university@dailytarheel.com

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Eliza Benbow

Eliza Benbow is the 2023-24 lifestyle editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as summer university editor. Eliza is a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and creative writing, with a minor in Hispanic studies.


Walker Livingston

Walker Livingston is the 2024 enterprise managing editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as summer city & state editor and assistant city & state editor. Walker is a sophomore pursuing a double major in journalism and media and American studies, with a minor in data science.