After amendment passes, a nonprofit expands to NC to get photo IDs to voters

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Just 48 hours after North Carolina approved an amendment to the state Constitution requiring photo ID to vote, plans are in the works by a nonprofit group based in Los Angeles to lead a volunteer effort to help get the tens of thousands of North Carolinians who don't have an ID, the identification they'll need to cast a ballot.

Kat Calvin, the founder of Spread the Vote, launched the effort that is quickly flooding the growing number of states that have added photo ID requirements to vote.

There are 34 states that require some form of identification. Tuesday, North Carolina became the 22nd state to require photo ID.

2015 estimates from the NC State Board of Elections and DMV said 218,000 North Carolinians have no DMV-issued photo ID.

"The people it mostly affects are people of color, people with low-income, the elderly, students, etc.," Calvin said. "So it's actually an enormous problem, and people don't really realize how big the numbers are."

Starting in January, Spread the Vote expands to North Carolina. Volunteers will be going to senior-living facilities, homeless shelters, and college campuses -- assigning mentors to help people not just get IDs but also the vital records required to get the ID, such as birth certificates or social security cards.

"IDs are hard to get. I mean they're not free. You can't just walk into the DMV and get an ID," Calvin said. "You have to pay for the ID. You need birth certificates."

Spread the Vote, which is funded by grants and donations said it covers the cost of securing vital records and any costs associated with securing identification.

"Spread the Vote pays all the costs required to get an ID. We'll pay for documents. We'll pay for the ID itself," Calvin said. "And we pay upfront. It's not reimbursement. So that's not something someone needs to worry about when they work with us."

Spread the Vote is searching for a state director to head up its efforts in North Carolina. It hopes to be up and running here by the new year.

Republican majority leaders in the state House and Senate are now busy crafting what the photo ID requirements will look like. A decision and a vote is expected before the GOP loses its veto-proof majority next year.

"North Carolinians made their preference for voter ID very clear on Tuesday, and we will follow through on that mandate," said Pat Ryan, spokesperson for Senate Leader Phil Berger. "We will spend the coming weeks reviewing legal precedent, both here and around the country, as well as best practices from the 34 other states with voter ID laws."
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