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All the Voter ID Laws in May Primary States, Explained

Primary season ramps up, state requirement vary to cast ballot

Voting signs are posted at the early voting polls at One Judiciary Square in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Voting signs are posted at the early voting polls at One Judiciary Square in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More states in recent years enacted voter ID laws requiring people to provide some form of proof that they are who they say they are before casting a ballot. Courts across the nation continue to judge, while Republicans say these laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud and Democrats argue the laws create barriers to voting and disenfranchise minority voters.

Either way, if you plan to vote this May, here’s what you need to bring:

May 8

Indiana requires photo ID to cast a ballot. The ID must be government-issued and have a photo, name, and expiration date. If voters do not bring acceptable identification, they vote on a provisional ballot, and must return to an election office within 10 days and present an acceptable ID for the ballot to count.

North Carolina
North Carolina does not require voters to show any documents to vote. The state had a strict voter ID law, but the Supreme Court struck it down in 2013 after the court ruled the voter identification requirements “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Ohio requires citizens to present proof of their identity but not necessarily through a government ID. Voters can provide their Ohio driver’s license, state identification number or the last four digits of their social security number. If they don’t have a driver’s license or state-issued ID available, a bank statement or utility bill can serveas identification. If a voter has none of these, they can still vote using a provisional ballot and return within a week with identification and their vote to count.

West Virginia
West Virginia’s new voter ID law just took effect this January. For the first time, West Virginians will have to present something proving their identity. This could be any government-issued ID (a driver’s license, SNAP ID card or a concealed carry permit, for example) or non-photo identification including items such as a debit card or utility bill.

May 15

Idaho requires government-issued photo ID in order to vote. But if citizens don’t have an ID on hand, they can still vote. People without an ID fill out a one-page personal identification affidavit, providing a name, address and signature before casting a ballot.

Nebraska does not require any form of identification to vote.

Oregon also does not require any form of identification to vote.

A state judge struck down Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law in 2014, citing undue burden on citizens.. Now, the state does not require any form of identification to vote.

May 22

Arkansas Supreme Court struck down one voter ID law in 2014 for implementing voter eligibility requirements outside the state constitution. But the state legislature passed through another in 2017 with more lenient requirements.. Although the state supreme court agreed to hear the Voter ID case again, they also ruled the state can enforce the 2017 law until they make a decision, including during this election. Now, citizens are required to have a photo ID to vote. If they do not have an ID, they can sign a sworn statement confirming their identity and cast a provisional ballot.

Georgia requires voters show a government-issued form of identification. Only six forms ID, including a driver’s license or passport qualify as valid. If a voter does not have any official ID, they can get a voter identification card at a county registrar’s office or Department of Driver Services Office. While the voter ID card is free, citizens must bring an identity document that includes full legal name and date of birth, other documentation showing the voter’s date of birth, evidence that the applicant is a registered voter and documentation showing the applicant’s name and residential address.

Kentucky does not require any specific photo identification to vote, however, poll workers must verify a voter’s identity through some means. “Personal acquaintance” counts as do documents including a driver’s license, social security card or credit card. If an election officer disputes whether a citizen is qualified to vote, the voter signs a written oath confirming their qualifications and then is permitted to vote.

A federal appeals court ruled Texas’ voter ID laws did not discriminate against minorities in April, overturning a lower court decision saying the law was unconstitutional. Texas voters must present a government-issued photo ID. If they don’t have a photo ID, they must present a supporting form of ID such as a utility bill, birth certificate or original paycheck and fill out a “Reasonable Impediment Declaration,” explaining why the voter cannot obtain an acceptable form of ID. Voters who forget their photo ID at home can cast a provisional ballot and return within 6 days to provide identification and have their vote counted.

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