For the first time, North Carolinians will be required to show a photo ID in order to vote in the upcoming election. For people who don’t live near a DMV, getting that ID may be a challenge.

A new analysis by nonprofit research center Carolina Demography found that 17 counties do not have a Department of Motor Vehicles office. Research analyst Emma Marshall says the majority of them have higher than average minority populations.

“These are historically predominantly Black counties and rural northeastern counties," she says. "Given that there are so many counties in that section of the state that have no DMV, you may have to drive one or two counties over just to maybe get into an appointment at a DMV there."

Even if there is an office close by, getting a timely appointment still isn’t guaranteed. Marshall says DMVs in the state’s fastest growing counties serve proportionately more residents.

“Because of the dynamics of population growth and migration, we were just seeing like a little bit of a backlog between communities developing and then business and organizations moving into those communities that would meet the demand of those communities.”

Driver’s licenses and state ID cards issued by the DMV are among several different forms of identification that will be accepted for the upcoming election. Under a program that began last month, voters can also obtain voter identification cards at all 100 county boards of elections. 

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