Attorney: NC photo ID wouldn't stop two-state voting

Posted April 3, 2014

— Data suggesting potential voter fraud in North Carolina's 2012 elections still don't justify wide-ranging and restrictive changes approved by Republicans last year that are now the focus of court challenges, voting rights advocates said Thursday.

This week, the State Board of Elections presented legislators with information showing 765 voters with matching identifying records voted in both North Carolina and another state for the general election in November 2012. Board officials are now investigating whether the matches – based on first and last names, birth dates and partial Social Security numbers crosschecked with voter information in 27 other states – represent clerical errors, unintentional mistakes or crimes that local prosecutors should pursue.

Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday the matches prove the need for the 2013 law that made sweeping changes to voting and election laws. The most significant change requires registered voters to show photo identification before voting in person, starting in 2016.

Anita Earls, executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said the photo ID demand wouldn't make a difference in preventing two-state voting.

"The voter ID wouldn't stop any single one of those voters from double-voting," said Earls, the lead attorney in a state lawsuit filed by interest groups and several voters challenging the ID requirement.

Speaking at a Legislative Building news conference, Earls argued that the law actually may encourage fraud by making it easier to vote by mail through absentee ballots. The law doesn't require someone who wants to vote by mail to offer a photo ID. Rather, the person must provide other identifying documents or numbers.

Double-voting could occur when a person living in one state votes at a precinct on Election Day while having already voted in another state by mail using an old address.

"This is not an either or situation. We can protect the voting rights of voters of color in this state and stop fraud," Earls said. "There’s no conflict between having a strong Voting Rights Act that covers North Carolina that protects all of our electorate and that stops fraud. That’s just not what the policies that have currently been passed do."

Earls and members of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus said at the news conference that they're worried over how some in Congress are proposing to amend the federal Voting Rights Act in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last June striking down part of the law.

The court essential threw out a portion requiring some North Carolina counties and other states to get approval by federal attorneys or judges before changing election laws and practices, saying the formula upon which the requirements were based was outdated. The updated proposal uses a formula that would omit North Carolina and a handful of other Southern states.

Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland and the caucus chairman, signed an open letter to members of Congress urging them to continue to subject North Carolina to "pre-clear" statewide elections laws, such as the voter ID mandate, with Washington, D.C., before they can be implemented. Pierce said he and other caucus members planned next week to travel to Capitol Hill and meet with members of Congress on the issue.

"In this atmosphere of voter suppression in North Carolina, where laws have been enacted making it difficult to vote, it's hard to believe this state will do what's right on its own," said Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford. "The bottom line is, citizens must be protected."

The Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said that without pre-clearance, groups like his carry the burden of suing to block discriminatory laws. The NAACP, League of Women Voters and the U.S. government also are suing to stop sections of the 2013 elections overhaul law like photo ID and others that reduce the number of early voting days and end same-day registration during the period.

The state Republican Party said the voting data released Wednesday to an oversight committee affirmed that fraud exists and criticized Barber and Democratic politicians for downplaying it in the past.


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  • glarg Apr 4, 2014

    "The voter ID wouldn't stop any single one of those voters from double-voting,"

    Yes it would. If fraud is happening I doubt is people jumping in a car and driving a 1000 miles in a day. Having to show photo id would prevent one person from voting in person in two places.

    And it would make prosecution much easier.

  • Danny Cole Apr 3, 2014
    user avatar

    Next step finger print ID. When you get your ID you are finger printed and you must scan your fingerprint prior to voting. Won't the Democrats go stupid on that one. Not only would it slow fraud down, but the police can arrest a lot of criminals trying to vote.

  • Danny Cole Apr 3, 2014
    user avatar

    1, Why isn't this on the main page.
    2. Why did WRAL spin this in a way to say hey it really isn't happening and what is being do to try to stop it won't work.
    3. Where are all these people who are saying there is no fraud in the voting system in NC.

  • Terry Watts Apr 3, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Not if they had fake ID.

  • Ginger Lynn Apr 3, 2014
    user avatar

    It would stop the 81 dead people from voting.

  • curiousgeorgia Apr 3, 2014

    Earls was an SBOE board member under the Democrats.

  • Terry Watts Apr 3, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    No one liked my idea: give the poll workers access to DMV Photo Records and make them verify the ID of a person - having people ID themselves just sets the system up for fraud via fake ID...

  • Steve Mchugelarge Apr 3, 2014

    If voter ID affects white people too how can it be racist? What is so hard about getting an ID they are free and there a 7 acceptable forms you can use to vote. How much easier can it be made? If you can procure a bus to get these people to the polls why cant you find one to take them to get IDs? The excuses the opponents use for this law are very thin and weak. You know there are problems with the whole system but you have no other ideas how to fix it. Maybe if you lose a few more elections you will have a few ideas, Until then GET AN ID!