Voter ID Cards: Everything You Need to Know (2023)

Voter ID rules and requirements can be confusing to navigate. VoteRiders is here to help! This post is part of our series addressing some of the most common questions and challenges related to voter ID laws. 

Whether Voter ID cards are offered and accepted at the polls varies by state. In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about voter ID cards, including:

➜    What is a voter ID card?
    Which states offer free voter ID cards?
    How do I get a voter ID card?
    What is a voter registration card or certificate?



What is a Voter ID Card?

A Voter ID card, also known as a voter identification card, is an official document issued in some states to verify a person’s registration status and eligibility to vote in elections. 

Typically, a Voter ID card includes personal details such as the individual’s full name, residential address, and sometimes their date of birth or voter identification number. 

In some jurisdictions, a Voter ID card is one of the accepted types of identification required or requested when voting. It serves as a means to authenticate the voter’s identity and confirm their eligibility to cast a ballot.

However, not every state offers Voter ID cards — it’s important to review your state’s laws to understand if a Voter ID Card (or something similar) is available.



Which states offer free voter ID cards?

Voter ID cards are often used by people who don’t have one of the more common forms of acceptable voter ID (e.g. driver’s license, state ID card, U.S. passport, military ID, etc.). 

If you do not have one of these forms of identification, your state may allow you to get a free Voter ID card. You can see if your state offers a free identification card by visiting the State Voter ID Rules page.

Sample of a voter ID card issued by Georgia
Georgia Voter ID card

In those states that do offer free voter ID cards, they are usually issued in a few different formats:

➜   State-issued ID: Some states offer a state-issued photo ID card or non-driver’s license that can be used both to vote in and for other purposes (e.g. applying for employment, housing, or health care).

  • Interested in getting a free state-issued ID? VoteRiders can help!

➜   Voter ID Card: Some voter ID states (like Georgia) will issue a free Voter ID card, which can only be used to vote, and cannot be used to prove your identity for any other purpose.

If you prefer to get a voter ID card rather than a free state ID card, follow the steps below.



How do I Get a Voter ID Card?

Getting a voter ID card varies from state to state but typically follows a common process:

➜   Check Voter ID availability: Before beginning, be sure to find out if a free Voter ID card is offered in your state (contact information can be found on each state Voter ID rules page).

➜   Determine the requirements: Research the voter ID requirements in your specific jurisdiction to find out what documents are necessary to obtain a voter ID card.

➜   Gather the required documents: Once you know the requirements, gather the necessary documents. Commonly required documents may include:

  • Proof of identity (such as a birth certificate, passport, or driver’s license)
  • Proof of residential address (such as a utility bill or rental agreement)
  • Proof of voter registration or citizenship

➜   Complete the application: Fill out the application form for a Voter ID card provided by the election office.

➜   Take a photo and provide a signature: In some cases, you may need to have your photo taken for the Voter ID card. Additionally, you may be required to provide a signature for identification purposes.

➜   Receive the Voter ID Card: After completing the application process and fulfilling the necessary requirements, your Voter ID card will be processed. It will be either issued on the spot or mailed to your registered address.

Can You Download a Voter ID Card to Vote In Person?

➜   Electronic Voter ID card: In some states, it’s acceptable to download and show your ID on an electronic device such as a tablet or a phone (for example, Mississippi has a Mobile ID app where voters can store a state-issued ID or driver’s license to use as an acceptable voter photo ID when voting in person).

➜   Physical Voter ID card: In other states, an actual original/physical ID is required to vote (like in Georgia and Wisconsin, for example).



Voter Registration Cards and Certificates

A Voter Registration Card (also known as a Voter Registration Certificate, election card or precinct card, depending on your state), is an official document issued to individuals who register to vote in the United States. 

The Voter Registration Card serves as proof of a person’s voter registration status and is typically provided by the local election office or the relevant government agency responsible for voter registration.

Here are a few things to note about Voter Registration Cards:

➜   State acceptance: Some states accept a Voter Registration Card as a standalone form of voter identification (like Alabama, for example), while others (like Florida) require additional identification or verification.

➜   Registration confirmation: A Voter Registration Card confirms that an individual is registered to vote in a specific jurisdiction, such as a state, county, or city.

➜   Personal information: The Voter Registration Card usually includes personal details about the voter, such as their full name, residential address, and other identifying information.

➜   Proof of registration and polling station: The card serves as evidence that you have registered to vote and helps you to identify your correct precinct and polling location.


What’s the difference between a registration card and a Voter ID card?

It’s important to note that voter registration cards/certificates are different from Voter ID cards, and the rules for using registration cards/certificates as an acceptable form of voter identification are different than for a Voter ID card.

For a better understanding of the difference, let’s take a more detailed look at how they differ:

Voter Registration Card

➜   What’s the purpose of a voter registration card?

A voter registration card serves as proof that an individual has successfully registered to vote in a specific jurisdiction. It confirms the person’s eligibility to participate in elections.

➜   What information does a voter registration card list?

The card typically includes personal details like the individual’s full name, residential address, and possibly other identifying information. It verifies the voter’s registration status and acts as an official documentation of their voter registration. It helps a voter to identify their correct precinct and polling location.

➜   Is a voter registration card a valid form of ID for voting?

In most cases, no. You don’t need your voter registration card or certificate to vote, though, in some states that have voter ID laws, a voter registration card can act as one of the acceptable forms of ID to vote (like in Pennsylvania, for example).

➜   Can a voter registration card be replaced or updated?

If the card is lost or damaged, or if any information on the card changes, voters can usually request a replacement or update from their local election office or government agency responsible for voter registration. If a voter’s precinct or polling location has changed they will usually also receive an updated card.

Voter ID Card

➜   What’s the purpose of a Voter ID card?

A Voter ID card is specifically issued as a form of identification for use when voting in a state with a voter ID law. It serves to verify a person’s identity when casting a ballot.

➜   What information does a Voter ID card list?

The card typically includes personal details like the individual’s full name, photograph, signature, and sometimes other identifying information. It is designed to provide a reliable means of identification for voting purposes.

➜   Is a Voter ID Card a valid form of ID for voting?

The Voter ID Card is intended to be a valid form of identification when voting in the state in which it was issued.

➜   How is a Voter ID Card issued?

Voter ID Cards are issued separately from the voter registration process. Voters must apply for a Voter ID Card through their local election office or the government agency responsible for issuing such identification.

  • Interested in getting a free Voter ID card? VoteRiders can help!



Wrapping it Up: Voter ID cards

Understanding the specific voter ID requirements in your jurisdiction is essential to ensuring a smooth voting experience. If you do not have an ID that is accepted in your state, it is especially important that you understand whether your state offers a free voter ID card.  Be sure to check the official website of your local election office or contact them directly for accurate and up-to-date information. Or for help in getting a free voter ID, contact VoteRiders for assistance!