Earlier this year, the North Carolina Supreme Court reinstated a restrictive voter ID law that had previously been deemed unconstitutional due to racial bias. This requirement will impact all voters, but especially low-income voters, young voters, and Black voters. As is now the case in 38 (…and counting for 2024) states, North Carolina voters are faced with a limited list of acceptable forms of ID in order to vote.
For voters in many of these states, voter registration is not enough. They often must also produce the required ID when they vote. These voter ID laws are a not-so-subtle form of voter disenfranchisement.
Millions of voting-age Americans lack a current government-issued photo ID. A report from UMD’s Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement (CDCE) and VoteRiders found that:
- Nearly 29 million voting-age U.S. citizens lacked a valid driver’s license and over 7 million had no other form of non-expired government-issued photo identification.
- An estimated 1.86 million Black non-Hispanic Americans (6.2%) and 1.86 million Hispanic Americans (6.1%) lack a photo ID, compared to just 2.3% of White non-Hispanic Americans.
- Adult Americans who were not registered to vote were three times more likely to lack a driver’s license (30%) than those who were registered (11%).
How do we fight back against this barrier to the ballot?
Kathleen Unger founded VoteRiders in 2012 to ensure that no eligible voter is prevented from casting a ballot that counts due to voter ID laws, either directly from lack of acceptable ID or indirectly because of voter confusion. Back in 2012, we had no idea how urgent this mission would become.
Over the course of our 11-year history, with over 10,000 volunteers and almost 1,400 partner organizations, VoteRiders has reached millions of voters nationwide with trusted information about voter ID rules where they live. VoteRiders has worked with tens of thousands of voters one-on-one (sometimes for months at a time!) to make sure they have an ID and helped millions more to make sure they have what they need to vote with confidence.
For instance, during the 2022 midterms, we reached out to 15,500 voters in Texas whose ballots were rejected due to a new voter ID law that went into effect a few months earlier. Over 92% of the Texas voters we contacted via letter-writing, and 87% of those we contacted via text, were able to successfully vote in the midterm elections after having their ballots rejected in March.
Visit us at voteriders.org to learn more and to volunteer. Or you can support our efforts in North Carolina and get the sweet reward of home-baked cupcakes delivered to your door (or to a friend or first responders in our delivery areas) through Bake Back Better.