Keegan Wiggins

Wiggins

On Nov. 26, WCU’s student and employee IDs were approved by the State Board of Elections to be used in the upcoming 2020 elections.

In light of North Carolina’s voter ID law, universities have had to submit their materials regarding student IDs to the State Board of Elections in order to have them approved for the upcoming elections.

Prior to last week, only a limited list of universities had IDs approved for students, and WCU was not one of them.

In March, universities initially submitted their materials to the State Board of Elections. While all 17 UNC institutions applied for approval, only five were approved. WCU was rejected.

However, institutions that have submitted their materials and were rejected had a second chance.

Institutions had until Nov. 15 to submit a revised application for approval.

Based on the materials that WCU sent in for approval, students shouldn’t expect any big changes coming to the Cat Card process.

According to Shea Browning, WCU’s general counsel, there will only be one additional step.

“Students have, over the last several years, uploaded the photo that then would appear on their Cat Card,” Browning said. “The Cat Card was then given to the student at orientation. In the future, the student will continue to upload their photo; however, a university employee will visually and in person compare the photograph on the student’s Cat Card to the student and will ensure that they are one and the same.”

In addition to the extra step in the Cat Card process, Browning says that Cat Cards in the future will also have a “slightly different design.”

WCU’s proposed process is similar to processes submitted by UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Wilmington. Both will allow students to still upload their own photos; however, a university official will examine the photo to ensure the physical appearance matches the photo.

Now that WCU’s application has been approved, what does this mean for student voters?

According to Lane Perry, the executive director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, it makes voting more accessible to our students.

“By having access to an on-campus polling location and a WCU Cat Card student ID, we position our students who live on or near campus in a place that makes voting more accessible to them than if there was not a polling place or if their WCU Cat Card student ID did not work,” Perry said. 

In addition to WCU’s IDs being approved, below are the rest of the IDs that were approved last week:

East Carolina University: student and employee;

Fayetteville State University: student (employee approved previously);

N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University: student and employee;

N.C. School of Science and Mathematics: student (employee approved previously)

UNC-Chapel Hill: student and employee;

UNC-Charlotte: student and employee;

UNC-Greensboro: student and employee;

UNC-Pembroke: student and employee;

University of North Carolina School of the Arts: student and employee;

UNC-Wilmington: student (employee approved previously);

Winston-Salem State University: student (employee approved previously).

Originally from Lynchburg, Virginia, Keegan Wiggins is a senior at WCU studying communication and international studies.