Today Governor Pat McCrory signed HB 589, also known as the Voter Photo ID bill, into law. With this, North Carolina joins the majority of states, 34 out of 50, that require some form of ID to vote. The photo ID requirement will go into effect in North Carolina for the 2016 elections. Among acceptable forms of identification are a valid North Carolina driver’s license, U.S. passport and various military IDs. Also, voters can obtain a state-issued photo-ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles at no charge, and if a voter comes to the polls without a photo-ID, they will still be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The bill also mandates that hours available to cast an early ballot remain the same and there will be 10 days for voters to cast their ballot early. County board of elections will calculate the number of early voting hours offered in the 2012 presidential and the 2010 non-presidential voting years, and the same amount of early voting hours in those years must be made available in presidential and non-presidential elections going forward. Also, all early voting sites within a county must have the same days and hours of operation. Also, like most states and the District of Columbia, North Carolina will require voters to cast a ballot for a candidate, and not for a political party, by doing away with straight-ticket voting. This new law also aligns North Carolina with the majority of states (37) that do not allow a person to register and vote on the same day. To read the bill in its entirety, you can visit www.ncga.state.nc.us.