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State Board Opens Public Comment Period on Permanent Photo ID Rules

Raleigh, N.C. — The State Board of Elections invites the public to comment on two proposed permanent rules for implementing the photo ID requirement for in-person and absentee-by-mail voters in North Carolina. The photo ID requirement was enacted into law by the General Assembly in 2018.

These rules are necessary to ensure uniform implementation of the photo ID requirement by all 100 county boards of elections and in all 3,000-plus polling locations. They are similar to rules adopted by the State Board and approved by the Rules Review Commission in prior iterations of the photo ID law.

The public comment period opens Wednesday, November 15, 2023, and closes on January 16, 2024. 

Members of the public may comment on the rules in any of the following ways through January 16:
*Online: Public Comment Portal: Permanent Photo ID Rules
*Email: rulemaking.sboe@ncsbe.gov
*Mail: Attn: Rulemaking Coordinator, PO Box 27255, Raleigh, NC 27611-7255

An in-person public hearing will be held at 11 a.m. December 13, 2023, at the State Board of Elections Office on the Third Floor of the Dobbs Building at 430 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27603.

 Information and links to the two proposed rules are below:

  1. Verification of Photo Identification During In-Person Voting 08 NCAC 17 .0101 (PDF): This proposed rule describes how election officials must determine whether the photograph on the ID reasonably resembles the voter and whether the name is the same as or substantially equivalent to the voter’s name in their registration record. It also addresses voting options for voters who are unable to present photo identification.
  2. Photo Identification for Absentee-By-Mail Ballots 08 NCAC 17 .0109 (PDF): This proposed rule provides details about the requirement for absentee-by-mail voters to provide a copy of an acceptable photo ID with their ballot return envelope, or to complete a photo ID exception form. It also describes the process county boards of elections must follow in reviewing copies of IDs or exception forms returned with absentee ballots.

The Board also proposes to repeal four previous photo ID rules adopted under a different law, which is now obsolete, to avoid any misunderstanding about what rules should be followed by election officials and the public. View the text of the four rules proposed for temporary repeal (PDF). 

Submitted comments will be compiled and provided to the State Board before its final consideration of the proposed temporary rules, which will take place at a public meeting after the end of the comment period. The Rules Review Commission would then consider the proposed rules.

For more information about the rulemaking process, please visit Rulemaking.


Voters will be asked to show photo ID when voting in North Carolina. Most voters will simply show their driver’s license. But there are many other acceptable photo IDs. See Acceptable Photo IDs for Voting.

If a voter does not have an acceptable photo ID, they can get one for free from their county board of elections. For details, see Get a Free Voter Photo ID.

All voters will be allowed to vote with or without a photo ID.If a voter cannot show photo ID when voting in person, they can still vote by filling out an ID Exception Form, explaining why they are unable to show ID. Or they can vote a provisional ballot and return to the office of the county board of elections with their photo ID. If an absentee-by-mail voter is unable to include a photocopy of their photo ID with their ballot return envelope, they can also fill out an ID Exception Form with their ballot.

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