Members of the Richmond County Democratic Party gained insight related to upcoming changes in voter identification laws during a meeting Tuesday evening in the new judicial center in downtown Rockingham.
Much of the meeting focused on the party’s strategic plan. Lee Quick, chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party, said that the plan is always changing.
“This is something that should be done every year,” said Quick.
During the meeting, Quick spoke about the goals of the group. Some of those goals include identifying and developing a plan to engage specific groups in the voting process and eliminating barriers to voting.
Kim Harrington, chairperson of the local party’s Voter ID Committee, addressed the crowd of approximately 30 people with voter information she received from a training she attended that was sponsored by Democracy North Carolina.
One of the things she informed those in attendance of was regarding the changes in voter identification for the 2016 election. She said that starting in 2014, voters will be asked for photo identification. Beginning in 2016, voters will be required to show photo identification before casting a ballot. Harrington made it clear that the reason voters would be asked for a photo identification beginning next year is to see how many would need it in the 2016 election.
She mentioned that beginning in the year 2014, your identification must be a state-issued driver’s license, learner’s permit or provisional license, a state-issued special identification card for non-drivers, U.S. passport, U.S. military identification or veteran identification card, tribal enrollment card from a federally or a state-recognized tribe or an out-of-state driver’s license but only for 90 days after the voter registers in North Carolina.
Harrington also mentioned that no student identification will be accepted. The photo on the identification must bear a “reasonable resemblance” to you. Voters are exempt who swear to having a religious objection to being photographed or who use curbside voting because of their age or physical disability. Harrington added there will no longer be an option to simply vote by party within a single box, known as straight party voting. Instead, a voter must individually select preferred candidates by political races.
Harrington stressed to the crowd that voting is indeed important and that everyone’s vote does count.
“We need to instill in people that the vote is the great equalizer,” she said.
Harrington believes that there is power in voting.
“The only real power is people power,” she said.
— Staff Writer Iris Hunter can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.