The Guilford County Board of Elections is in the business of putting on elections, but now, thanks to one wrinkle in the state’s new voter ID law, the elections board is about to get into a new business as well: that of photo ID maker.
This week, Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said one aspect of the new law – which will in the future require voters to display photo ID’s when voting – is that county elections departments must have the ability to make photo ID’s for citizens who can provide documentation or other satisfactory proof that they are who they say they are and that they live where they say they live.
The equipment needed to make the ID’s will come at no cost to Guilford County.
“The state is charged with providing it to us,” Collicutt said of the ID-making equipment.
Collicutt added that the county will, however, bear the cost of maintaining the equipment and replacing it in the future.
According to Collicutt, for most people, getting an ID issued from the Elections Department will be something of a last resort since there are other more common ID options that will allow people to vote in 2020 and beyond. Most county residents already have a NC Driver’s License, a passport, a military ID or some other type of photo ID that will let them cast their vote.
Even though ID’s won’t be mandatory for voting until 2020, elections departments are required by law to be set up to issue photo ID’s by May of this year.
Collicutt said that timeline does make things a little tight because he and other election directors across the state are waiting for the equipment and there’s no indication when the state will provide it.
He added that some training will be necessary since staff needs to learn the software as well as be schooled in properly authenticating identities.