BY ANN CARROLL By the time I met my husband, I had a career, had moved three times, and had made enough decisions to make my childhood name feel like my adult one. So when he proposed, the next question became – what are you going to do with your name?
I was at the same crossroads we all find ourselves in the 21st century. If I took his name would I be snubbing my nose at all the efforts for equality for women, and in my case, abandoning a last name that will not be carried on. As a child of divorced parents, I also wanted to take a step that signified us uniting as a family. So I chose to have my cake and eat it too. I kept my last name, and took his and resigned myself to forever be squeezed out of room on federal and state forms.
Eight years ago, living in Philadelphia, changing my name was hard enough. Trust me. Try to cut through any tape in the “City of Brotherly Love” and you’re sure to come back with dull scissors, and the irresistible urge to drop a few choice words.
Fast forward to today in North Carolina. I’m glad I took the time then to get the same name on all of my government forms. Why? Starting in 2016 under the Voter ID Law passed last year, North Carolina voters will be required to come to the polls with a government-issued photo ID card that matches the name with which they registered to vote.
What does that mean for you? It means if you’ve been putting off having your driver’s license updated with your married name, or changing your name on your voter registration card … you now officially have a deadline to get things taken care of.
- Before you change your name with the NC Department of Motor Vehicles, you need to report the change to the Social Security Administration. To do that you need your marriage certificate, divorce decree or a court order. Also bring your current driver’s license, passport or identification card.
- With your new Social Security Card in hand, go to the NC DMV with your current driver’s license or ID card, your marriage certificate, court order or divorce decree, and cash, check or money order for $10.
- With your updated driver’s license and/or photo ID card in hand, you’ll need to contact your county’s board of elections to update your information and will receive a new voter registration card within a six weeks.
The moral to this story: This is no time to procrastinate. There’s too much at stake. Voting is a right – and it’s our gift to our self and our fellow citizens to be positioned to exercise it.