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New Hanover County Uses This Year's Elections to Prep For Upcoming Voter ID Changes

The 2014 state legislative elections could be the last in which voters don’t have to comply with the Voter Information Verification Act of 2013—also known as VIVA. This controversial law, which requires ballot-casting North Carolinians to present photo ID, goes into effect just in time for the federal elections of 2016, and could render 200,000 citizens ineligible to vote. In order to identify at-risk voters in New Hanover County, the Board of Elections will be screening for IDs throughout this year.

While citizens will not yet have to present photo ID, precinct captains countywide will be showing each voter a checklist of VIVA-sanctioned forms of ID. Anyone lacking a proper form will be required to sign an affidavit of acknowledgement. This is according to county elections director Marvin McFadyen, who says the county will then be submitting this information to the state.

"There was an overwhelming amount of changes in 2013 legislation regarding VIVA—I mean that bill was 49 pages long. And one of the parts of that bill is that we are to step up our outreach programs to inform the public of these changes. I would say compared to 2012, there is more effort on our part, but that’s simply because there are more changes."

Those changes include a shortened one-stop voting period, changes to absentee and provisional voting, and new requirements for 17-year-olds. McFadyen says that while New Hanover County will be helping the state collect this new data, it will be up to the state to assist at-risk voters.