|N.C. House passes voter ID bill|
|Measure OKd along party lines heads to Senate|
|Published Thursday, April 25, 2013 8:03 am|
Voter ID is one step closer to reality in North Carolina.
The state House of Representatives on Wednesday passed HB 589, the “Voter Information Verification Act,” by an 81-36 margin. Four Democrats voted for the bill, which moves to the Senate, along with every member of the Republican caucus. GOP lawmakers have pushed for voter ID since taking control of both chambers in 2010, but were stymied in 2011 by then-Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto. Perdue is a Democrat. Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, supports voter ID.
“North Carolinians consistently and overwhelmingly support photo ID requirements for voting,” House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) said in a statement. “This bill not only responds to the opinions of our constituents, but also provides individuals without photo IDs with an opportunity to acquire them at no cost. This common-sense measure will protect the integrity of the ballot box and restore confidence in our election system.”
The bill would require voters to show photo identification at the polls and would be fully implemented by 2016. It allows the 2014 elections to be used to identify voters who are without an accepted form of ID while establishing a free photo identification card program through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
HB 589 also directs the State Board of Elections to study the use of digital technology to improve efficiency at the booth.
Republicans contend photo ID will decrease the possibility of voter fraud. Critics of the bill counter it creates a burden on the elderly, low-income and students – which historically vote Democratic.
“To be fraudulent in the claim of voter fraud and distort truth in order to pass laws to make it harder for people to vote is unthinkable in a modern democracy,” N.C. NAACP President Rev. William J. Barber said. “To pass a modern day poll tax disguised as voter photo ID is to engage in modern-day interposition and nullification blocking freedom and constitutional rights and progress. It is as if they are trying to be the George Wallaces of the 21st century in a shameful display of the arrogance of power.”
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