Voter ID

The Burke County Board of Elections is holding two free public seminar sessions on voter ID on June 24.

A federal court this week ruled that Texas voter ID law violated the federal Voting Rights Act and needs to be weakened before the November election.

Elections experts testified that Hispanics were twice as likely and blacks three times more likely than whites to lack an acceptable ID under the law. They also said lower-income Texas residents were more likely to lack necessary documents to obtain a free state voting ID.

A lower court is now instructed to devise a way for Texas to accommodate those who cannot obtain a voter ID.

And on Tuesday, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that residents without a photo ID in that state will still be allowed to vote in November.

The rulings don’t appear to have affected North Carolina’s voter ID law, so far. Debbie Mace, director of elections for Burke County, said she hasn’t received any information from the state board of elections about any effects from the Texas ruling.

Voters in North Carolina can get a free ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles as long as they tell DMV officials it is for voting purposes, said Debbie Mace, director of elections for Burke County. She said the state will pick up the bill for the IDs issued for voting.

The IDs look similar to driver’s licenses and includes name, date of birth, address and expiration date.

Voters can take their birth certificate and something else that has their name and address on it, such as a utility bill, passport of social security card, to the DMV to get a free ID, Mace said.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

Those wanting to vote in the General Election in November need to register with the elections board by Oct. 14 .

Early voting begins Oct. 27 and ends Nov. 5. Early voting locations will be the Burke County Board of Elections office, Morganton-Burke Senior Center, Glen Alpine Town Hall, Rutherford College Town Hall and Hildebran Methodist Church.

Voters can request absentee-by-mail ballots now through Nov. 1, she said.

Call the Burke County Board of Elections at 764-9010 with any elections questions.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

 

Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at smcbrayer@morganton.com or at 828-432-8946.

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