Here Are the Student and Employee IDs You Can Now Use to Vote in North Carolina

Voters in Durham, N.C., on Election Day, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

By Michael McElroy

July 18, 2023

Elections officials approved 99 student and employee photo IDs for use in upcoming elections, including those from all UNC System schools, NC State University and several Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The North Carolina Board of Elections has approved 99 types of student and employee photo IDs for use as voter IDs in upcoming elections, officials announced on Monday. 

Voters will have to show a photo ID at polling sites starting with the 2023 municipal elections, and while many voters will use their driver’s license, the board asked state colleges, universities, state governments and other education institutions to apply to have their IDs approved as well. 

The approved student IDs include those from all UNC System schools, North Carolina State University and several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), many county governments and some charter schools. They can be used both this year and in the 2024 elections.

Only six institutions were denied, the board said, because their photo IDs didn’t have expiration dates as required by law. The institutions can address the issue and reapply next year ahead of the 2024 presidential election, the board said in a news release on Monday. 

“We are grateful to all institutions that applied to have their identification cards approved for voters for the 2023 municipal elections,” Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said in the release.

“This gives voters additional options when casting their ballot.” 

There will be other opportunities for other institutions to apply for approval before 2024, Brinson Bell said. 

[For a list of all the acceptable forms of voter IDs as well as the Board’s FAQ page, click here.]

Voters who do not yet have an acceptable form of voter ID still have options, elections officials said.

“We strongly encourage members of the media and advocacy groups to provide accurate information to voters about the photo ID requirement, including the available exceptions,” Brinson Bell said. 

“This new process should not discourage or prevent any eligible individual from voting and having their ballot counted. The State Board and county boards of elections are here to assist any voter who needs an ID or has questions about this law.” 

You can get a Voter ID for free at the state Department of Motor Vehicles and, per law, the county boards of elections will have to provide a free ID card to any voter who asks for one. Though that system is not yet in place, elections officials said it should be ready soon.

It was important for both voters and the news media to remember, Brinson Bell said, that “all voters will be allowed to vote with or without an ID,” during the election.

A voter would just have to fill out a Photo ID Exception Form, cast a provisional ballot and bring their acceptable ID to their county board of elections by the day before the votes are finalized.

[Those voting by mail must include a photocopy of their ID with their ballot, or they can fill out a Photo ID Exception Form for Absentee Voting.]


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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