Tuesday, July 30, 2013

North Carolina Becomes Latest State to Implement Common Sense Voter ID

Last Thursday, North Carolina lawmakers passed a measure that requires residents to present photo identification to vote, joining the increasingly long list of states that have approved similar common sense voter ID measures. In the past two years, at least 11 states have approved laws requiring voters to show identification at voting booths.

The law will require voters to present a government-issued photo identification at the polls, consolidated the early voting period, eliminated the fraud and problem ridden same-day voter registration, and stopped a bizarre pre-registration program for people under 18.

North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger called the bill:
 “A measure that restores confidence in our election process and ensures voters are who they say they are is a no-brainer — and nearly three-quarters of North Carolinians agree.” And said that “This bill will bring North Carolina in line with the majority of other states that already require voter ID.”

The proposed changes now head to the desk of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory where it will likely be signed into law. Governor McCrory praised the bill in a media conference Friday, saying it will restore faith in elections by requiring voters to present government-issued identification at the polls.

The Supreme Court's recent ruling in the Shelby case cleared the way for North Carolina  to become the first Southern state in the nation to enact voting law changes without fear for having to obtain prior approval from the partisan Eric Holder led Justice Department.  Holder has signaled he will still use the Department of Justice for political purposes .  However, in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision, he will have a much harder time accomplishing that purpose on Voter ID laws.   

"We understand there will be lawsuits," said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger who is a lawyer. He added, "It's our belief the laws we are passing are consistent with Constitutional requirements and they will be upheld."

A poll this year showed that more than 72% of North Carolina residents support requiring voters to show photo ID before being casting their ballot, according to Berger. He described it as a “hugely popular, common-sense” provision.

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) remarked:

“With over 70 percent of North Carolina residents consistently supporting the implementation of a photo ID measure, this common-sense legislation responds to the majority of citizens who desire a fair and accountable election system.” and  “The passage of this bill is a testament to General Assembly members’ relentless efforts in working to strengthen our election system.”

Tillis’s sentiments were echoed by one of the bill’s primary sponsor’s Harry Warren (R-Rowan):

“This bill is a necessary component to restoring confidence in our election system. By protecting the integrity of the ballot box, we ensure that every North Carolinian’s vote counts,”

Scott Cumbie, Chair of the Forsyth County, North Carolina Republican Party summed it up best:
 “As Republicans, we want to ensure that every American citizen has the freedom to vote and that they only vote once. And anything that ensures the integrity of the voting system is what we desire.”

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