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NC voter ID update: University decision deadline postponed

Andrew Hudson   ||   Mar 15, 2019  ||   ,

The latest update regarding legislation in North Carolina that would make college and university student ID cards a valid form of voter identification in the state is a postponement of the deadline decision date. This week, the state House and Senate approved and signed a bill that delays implementation of the photo identification requirement for voting until the 2020 election cycle.

As reported by the Carolina Public Press, the original legislation has been the subject of some criticism for its mandating of colleges and universities to file attestations stating that the university's card issuance process was compliant with voter identification requirements. The deadline for state post-secondary institutions to sign that attestation document was March 13.

Earlier this month, University of North Carolina officials raised objections about some of the requirements in the new law, leading to concerns that some of its campuses wouldn’t meet the issuance-process requirements by the deadline.

Legal counsel for the UNC system expressed concerns to the State Board of Elections over demands pertaining to Social Security numbers and proof of citizenship in the ID issuance process. Also of concern, was the requirement of university chancellors to attest to the validity of the issuance procedures under penalty of perjury.

In a March 6 letter to the State Board of Elections, UNC General Counsel Thomas Shanahan raised issues with the requirements and suggested they be worked out after the approval process.

“As a practical matter, in order for UNC System institutions’ identification cards to be approved by the March deadline, the state board will likely need to conclude that each institution’s current and existing ID issuance procedures are sufficient to meet the basic purposes of the law,” Shanahan wrote.

In a follow-up statement from State Elections Board, Executive Director, Kim Strach said: "It is reasonable to want to use each institution’s ‘current and existing ID issuance procedures,’ as your letter states, but as it stands, it does not appear the procedures described will meet the statutory requirements."

As of the March 13 deadline, the Carolina Public Press reports that 17 UNC campuses, eight community colleges, and 11 private colleges and universities had all submitted requests of approval for their credentials to be voter ID compliant.

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