What’s at Stake
Stories from North Carolina Voters Who Could Be Denied the Right to Vote by a Photo ID Requirement
Visit the profiles to learn more about people who are sharing their stories.
Paul Kearney is a resident of Warrenton, North Carolina. Paul lives in a tight-knit community where everyone knows each other on a first-name basis. His family has been in the community for four generations. His family has voted at the same precinct for decades, and when Paul arrived at his precinct, the polling staff greeted him by name. However, because of the photo ID requirement, polling staff was required by law to ask Paul for his ID even though they knew him. Unfortunately, Paul didn’t have his ID with him. He didn’t have time to go home and get his ID before the polls closed. Even though Paul has “a billfold full of IDs,” his only option was to cast a provisional ballot. And because he did not understand that he needed to take additional steps (go back to the county board of elections) to ensure his ballot was counted, Paul was disenfranchised.
Jabari Holmes is 42 years old and lives in Wendell, North Carolina. He was born with severe cerebral palsy that has confined him to a wheelchair. Jabari has voted in person in every election but one since he turned 18, despite the challenges involved in doing so. Jabari insists on going into the polling place to vote because this act confirms to him that he is an important part of society and makes him feel like he’s part of his community.
Mina is a voting rights community organizer living in Durham, North Carolina. Originally from Georgia, Mina attended college at Duke University. Before the 2016 March primary, when Mina was still a student at Duke, she received an email encouraging her to go vote. She wanted to vote in Durham because she lived there and was engaged with her local community. Mina arrived at an early voting site with two pieces of photo identification: her Georgia driver’s license and her Duke University photo student ID. The polling staff told her that these documents were insufficient to satisfy North Carolina’s voter ID requirement that was in place at the time. Mina was not even offered a provisional ballot.
Daniel Earl Smith has lived in Concord, North Carolina for five years now, and has been a regular voter ever since moving to the state from Pennsylvania. In 2016, like all North Carolina drivers have to do from time to time, Daniel had to get a new driver’s license because his old license expired. He went to the DMV and obtained a new license. However, his replacement license had to be mailed to him. The DMV gave him a temporary paper license to use until he received the official replacement. The temporary license included his name, address and a photo of his face. On Election Day, Daniel only had this temporary license, not his replacement license. Because the temporary license was not acceptable ID under the voter ID law, Daniel was forced to cast a provisional ballot. Unfortunately, his vote was not counted.
Jaden Peay is a sophomore at North Carolina Central University. Jaden chose to major in political science because he’s passionate about voting and participating in the political system. Last year, as a freshman, Jaden voted in Durham for the first time with no problem. However, if the Voter ID Amendment passes, he may not have that same experience in the future.