NC voter ID bill OK’d by Se­nate, goes to gov­er­nor

The News & Observer - - Triangle & N.c. - BY LYNN BON­NER lbon­[email protected]­sob­server.com

A bill re­quir­ing North Carolina vot­ers show photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion be­fore cast­ing bal­lots at the polls be­gin­ning next year won fi­nal ap­proval in the state Se­nate.

The voter ID bill that now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper for his sig­na­ture was ap­proved as scru­tiny of pos­si­ble elec­tion fraud in the 9th Con­gres­sional District in­ten­si­fies. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is fo­cused on mis­han­dling of ab­sen­tee bal­lots.

Se­nate Democrats on Thurs­day failed to de­lay a vote un­til an elec­tion fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­plete. The leg­is­la­ture’s bill deals mostly with vot­ers show­ing IDs at the polls.

“We can­not claim to be ad­dress­ing the real is­sue of voter fraud,” said Sen. Terry Van Duyn, an Asheville Demo­crat.

Voter ID is a long-held Repub­li­can goal. A 2013 voter ID law in North Carolina was struck down in fed­eral court in 2016. Repub­li­cans this year put a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment for voter ID on the bal­lot. It passed with about 55 per­cent of the vote.

Op­po­nents have trav­eled to Raleigh to speak against and protest the bill. Protesters sang and car­ried signs in the ro­tunda out­side the gallery soon after the 25-7 vote to ap­prove the bill with lit­tle de­bate.

Cooper said last week there was no need for photo ID, and called it “wrong for our state.” He did not say whether he would veto leg­is­la­tion.

An au­dit of 4.8 mil­lion votes cast in the 2016 elec­tion found one in­stance of in-per­son voter im­per­son­ation that could have been pre­vented by photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The ACLU, Equal­ity NC and Democ­racy North Carolina is­sued state­ments ask­ing Cooper to veto the mea­sure. In their let­ter, the ACLU and Equal­ity NC ob­jected to the bill be­ing “rushed through a lame-duck leg­is­la­ture,” and said the pro­vi­sions would “dis­crim­i­nate against and dis­en­fran­chise marginal­ized vot­ers.”

Cooper’s of­fice did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Un­der the bill, driver li­censes, pass­ports, mil­i­tary and vet­eran IDs, tribal en­roll­ment cards, col­lege stu­dent IDs, mu­nic­i­pal and state em­ployee IDs, or ID cards the DMV is­sues to non-driv­ers could be used to vote. The law es­tab­lishes a new type of ID that county boards of elec­tion would is­sue.

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