Raleigh, N.C. — Sen. Phil Berger, the top leader in the N.C. Senate, says any new law requiring voters to show identification at the polls should include a photo ID requirement.
"It does not have to be a drivers license as far as I'm concerned," Berger said. "For me, there are two requirements. One, that it's a photograph -- a government issued some sort of photograph. And two, that the bill will meet the constitutional standards that have been laid down."
More than 600,000 registered voters may not have a valid state-issued ID, according to analysis by the State Board of Elections. Berger said that, while there are likely voters without ID, he doubted the number was quite that high.
A spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis said that the Mecklenburg Republican also believed the state ought to work toward a photo ID requirement.
Asked if the state would leave it to counties to pay for special voter identification cards for those without proper state identification, Berger said he did not think so. Such special IDs are one way states have ensured their voter ID requirements pass constitutional muster, but they can be costly.
"I don't see us passing along to the counties an unfunded mandate," Berger said.