This November’s upcoming election will require voters to present photo ID. There are a number of photo IDs you can use, including your driver’s license, a passport, a free photo ID card from a county Board of Elections office, or a school or public employee ID from the following list of schools and institutions.

Orange County’s Board of Elections is located at 208 S Cameron St in Hillsborough. You can go there any weekday Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm for a free voter ID. If you live closer to Chapel Hill or Carrboro, a pop-up free photo ID station will be present at the Seymour Center (2551 Homestead Road) from 10am-1pm every Tuesday through August 27. You can also register to vote or update your registration.


This is good news and we recommend that everyone do this, particularly if you’re concerned about DMV wait times or temporary closures.

There are still ongoing issues with the NC DMV. Appointments are few and far between for new appointments and afternoon walk-in times (which are open to everyone) are variable and require you to have flexibility built into your schedule. Not everyone has that, or can wait 3 hours for an ID. (We recommend checking the DMV’s walk-in wait time tool before you go.)

Though they recently restarted extended hours and Saturday hours at some locations during the summer, some DMV offices around the state are closed this week due to staffing, HVAC repairs, and vacation….


To his credit, the DMV commissioner Wayne Goodwin is aware of these issues and has even reached out to the blog in the past (via an unscheduled phone call!) to address the DMV’s previous backlog of IDs and recommend that people try the walk-in hours if they can’t make an appointment. He seems like a good guy, and we appreciate his enthusiasm on social media – he makes videos and tries to help people of all political persuasions obtain services at the DMV. He’s clearly devoted to the DMV and seems to be doing what he can.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the agency appears to be understaffed and underfunded, and people without the flexibility to book appointments 60 days in the future, or to wait for 3 hours for an ID can’t jump through the existing hoops that are set up. Temporary licenses can’t be used for voting.

People in parenting groups on Facebook trade appointment cancellations for teenager’s first licensing appointments like they’re booking Taylor Swift tickets. (And the number of eligible voters per DMV varies wildly — some of the fastest growing counties in the state have not kept up with demand.)

I’m grateful that Orange County is providing different ways for people to obtain IDs. I hope they consider other locations in addition to the senior center – and different hours so that people who work a regular work week have options. This is a barrier to ensuring that everyone in our state can vote.

Melody Kramer is a Peabody-award winning journalist whose work has appeared on NPR and member stations around the country, as well as in publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine....