Early voters might notice something a little different at the polls today: election sites will not be displaying “No Photo ID Required” signs this year.
“With a constitutional amendment on the ballot regarding photo voter ID, there are concerns this signage could ultimately be more confusing than it is helpful to voters, and that it could be perceived as taking a position on the merits of the amendment,” states a Monday memo from State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement Executive Director Kim Strach. “Voters who ask should be told verbally that they do not need a photo ID.”
Strach, who was appointed by former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, has the authority to specify what supplies, signage, and other materials must be present at each voting site, according to the memo.
A GOP-backed constitutional amendment requiring voters to have a photo identification to vote is one of six on the ballot this year. Lawmakers have not told voters how they plan to implement a voter photo ID requirement if the amendment passes or what type of photo ID would be required. Opponents of the amendment say it would give them a blank check to discriminate against certain voters, particularly voters of color, the elderly and those living in poverty.
The memo about photo ID signage was sent to county boards of elections. State Board spokesman Pat Gannon added in an email Tuesday that aside from what’s in the memo, some counties didn’t have enough signs in good condition to cover early voting sites and polling locations.
“We wanted uniformity in voting site setup throughout the state, per the new rule cited in the memo,” he added.
There are several new rules cited in the memo, including ones that affect voting site uniformity, curbside voting regulations and clarification of Strach’s emergency authority as executive director.
The memo also notes that state law does not describe what county boards should do with the official constitutional amendment explanations once received.
“However, you should have copies in your office if the public requests more information about the amendments,” the memo states. “It is important that you remind your precinct officials that they may not provide any substantive information about the amendments.”
Members of the public can find the official explanations here. Read the full State Board memo below.