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Tuck some ID on you when you go to the polls, just in case

In World
April 04, 2024

Voters probably will not need it at a polling station in New Jersey, but bringing along something that verifies who you are can’t hurt. And there are more ID options than just a driver’s license.

Polling station identification rules vary by state, but all states must follow identification-related provisions in a federal law known as the Help America Vote Act.

Some good news is that there is some flex as to what “identification” is acceptable, beyond a photo driver’s license. Acceptable alternate identifications can be issued by the military or other government agency; by schools to students; by employers to employees; or even by stores to customers.

The door also is open to current documents that have your name and address on them. For example, this category includes a bank statement; paycheck; car registration; rent receipt; government check or document; sample ballot; a non-photo driver’s license; and utility bills.

Jan. 1, 2003 is an important date in voter identification rules, the League of Women Voters points out.

Democrat vs republican poll, democratic decision and primary voting conceptual idea with Vote election campaign button badges and the united states of america flag

Democrat vs republican poll, democratic decision and primary voting conceptual idea with Vote election campaign button badges and the united states of america flag

If you registered to vote by mail in your county after that date, and never voted in a federal election, you must provide the county commissioner of registration with identification.

If you registered before that date, you are not required to show identification to register.

If you did not provide identification to the commissioner, or if your information could not be verified — that is, your driver’s license number or your Social Security number’s last four digits could not be confirmed — you must show an ID at the polls. That is a requirement under the federal law, which also lists acceptable forms of identification.

State law says that any voter may be challenged at the polling place by a challenger, and the voter then may have to show identification to poll workers.

A National Conference of State Legislatures report on voter identification laws records 36 state requesting or requiring voters show some form of identification at polls.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia use other verification methods, most often checking information a voter provides at the poll with information in an official database such as a signature.

Some links with further New Jersey-specific identification information include the following.

https://www.vote411.org/node/7643.

https://www.nj.gov/state/elections/vote-faq.shtml.

Joe Smith is a N.E. Philly native transplanted to South Jersey 36 years ago, keeping an eye now on government in South Jersey. He is a former editor and current senior staff writer for The Daily Journal in Vineland, Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, and the Burlington County Times.

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This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: State, federal laws combine to set voter identification rules

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