House panel hears more pros, cons to voter ID

Posted March 13, 2013

— A day after dozens of people spoke for and against a plan to require North Carolina voters to present photo identification before casting their ballots, five people considered experts in the field of voter ID made their cases Wednesday to lawmakers.

The House Elections Committee is trying to collect as much input as possible before drafting a voter ID bill, which Republican lawmakers said could occur by the end of the month.

Bob Hall, executive director of left-leaning Democracy North Carolina, said lawmakers are getting ahead of themselves by proposing a photo ID as a cure-all for the potential of voter fraud. They haven't even defined what constitutes fraud, noting that at least 2,500 voters were given the wrong ballots last fall, which basically invalidated their votes.

"The photo ID is a fantasy tool to stop fraud," Hall said. "In some ways, you're giving people a ticket to commit fraud because you're saying, 'All you have to do is fraudulently produce this ID, and you're good to go.'"

Instead of focusing on an ID for people who go to the polls, he said, lawmakers should try to tighten up the rules for mail-in absentee ballots. In fact, he noted, treating absentee voters differently from others only invites court challenges to any ID law that the General Assembly approves.

Francis DeLuca, president of the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank, said the potential for people voting under others' names has skyrocketed since the nation adopted one-stop voting. People can now vote at any number of places in their home county, he said.

"The days of poll workers knowing voters ended in 2000 with the start of one-stop voting," DeLuca said, adding that poll workers didn't even have a list of registered voters in 2008 to compare with the names of people walking into early voting sites.

That is only the latest check against voter fraud to fall by the wayside, he said, noting that the ability of local elections boards to verify voter residency also is hampered by same-day registrations.

Bob Hall on voter ID Expert panel testifies on voter ID

Voter ID opponents have suggested that the requirement would disproportionately affect minorities, the elderly and the poor because they are the groups most likely to lack a photo ID. Some have compared the new requirement to the poll taxes and other means that Southern whites used decades ago to keep blacks from voting.

"This is not Jim Crow," Hans von Spakovsky told lawmakers while holding up his driver's license. "This is not a police dog. This is not a fire hose."

Von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, said voter ID laws in other states, including Georgia, haven't suppressed black voter turnout in recent elections.

Hall countered by noting that voter turnout can be affected by various factors, including close races on the ballot.

Allison Riggs, a voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said voter fraud is so rare that requiring an ID would more likely block registered voters, such as women who have their maiden names on a driver's license and their married names on voter rolls.

"The state must offer more than anecdotes and hysteria in order to justify a law that would restrict the right to vote," Riggs said. "This does not foster trust in the electoral process."

Keisha Gaskins, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York University's School of Law, noted that Virginia has liberalized its voter ID requirements in recent years after initially accepting only photo IDs. Now, people can use bank statements, utility bills and other documents to prove their identity to poll workers, she said.

"A strict ID requirement in North Carolina is unjustified for a number of reasons," Gaskins said, including it doesn't prevent fraud, it would cost the state a lot to implement and it would present a burden to some voters.

"A photo ID requirement is the worst kind of electoral policy solution," she said. "It creates an illusion of security that does not exist while offering no real solution to any identified problem."


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  • junkmail5 Mar 15, 2013

    I'm curious as to what the number is of people that both vote and do NOT have a photo ID and if they think paying $10 for a photo ID is asking too much.

    About 10% of the population when comparing voter registration and DMV records.

    BTW, the $10 issue isn't that it's too much, it's that it directly violates the 24th amendment to the constitution.

  • kornfan2448 Mar 15, 2013

    I'm curious as to what the number is of people that both vote and do NOT have a photo ID and if they think paying $10 for a photo ID is asking too much.

  • junkmail5 Mar 14, 2013

    There are more than ample examples of how the system is being ignored/subverted.- jospehlawrence43

    None that voter ID would fix though.

    The nun who voted for other people, the instances of the dearly departed being resurrected to vote-JL43

    Absentee. ID doesn't help there.

    Counties in which 100% of the votes cast went only to one candidate- JL43

    That didn't actually happen. Some precints did, but those were almost 100% black areas of philly, that didn't vote for a white guy in the PREVIOUS election either, at all.

    How they can deny reality is beyond me.

    That's the pro-ID folks.

    Because reality is nobody can show there's any cheating going on that voter ID would fix.

    It's a solution in search of a problem.

    Meanwhile there IS ample evidence of mail-in fraud. Which again voter ID does not fix. But you don't hear any solutions for that one.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 14, 2013

    Panthers-"I agree , and I have stated in the past I have no issues with increased spending for education"

    Have to say that I appreciate your most recent comments which seem to show you're not an ideologue.

  • josephlawrence43 Mar 14, 2013

    Lookit folks--I'm no expert, but I do have some common sense. We are discussing our political system and politicians. The sole objective of politicans elected to office is to be re-elected. If their service provides any benefit to the people is simply an unintended benefit. The name of the game is to win. Period. How that winning happens is wide open. Granted, there are tons of laws and regulations governing how the system is supposed to operate. There are an equal number of ways to circumvent those rules. There are more than ample examples of how the system is being ignored/subverted. The nun who voted for other people, the instances of the dearly departed being resurrected to vote--several times. Counties in which 100% of the votes cast went only to one candidate. And yet the liberal/leftist/national socialists continue to cry that there are no flaws in the electoral system. How they can deny reality is beyond me.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 14, 2013

    twtts-"While I agree that its perfectly fine 99% of the time, doesn't also mean Fraud "could" take place?"

    It could and I'd be all for stopping it if it did. Someone could also throw rocks through all the windows of my neighborhood every night but that doesn't mean I need to pay for armed guards BEFORE it happens.

  • PanthersFan45 Mar 14, 2013

    "After 5 years of cuts and spending that's 48th in the country, that makes so much sense." - Plenty Coups

    I agree , and I have stated in the past I have no issues with increased spending for education. Do I think there's waste there ? Yes, mainly with the leaders in place making big salaries when the classrooms need it the most (that's just my opinion). Maybe the comparison to a Photo ID was off topic and unfair. I value an education and support spending for both HS (latest technology) and College programs (pell grants, etc) that allow everyone to have an opportunity to succeed. BTW, I looked at the link you posted and it was informative.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 14, 2013

    twtts-"1- name and addy - easy, look thru my neighbors mailbox"

    You could, but there's a risk.

    " 2- voting already or not - if done on first day of early voting, no problem..."

    Yes, you could do it. But then there would be a record so that when your neighbor showed up there would be a incident.

    "3- sign their name - does BOE have a real signature to compare, or are they just faking it?"

    More to demonstrate voting already done.

    " 4- general description - where does BOE get this?"

    Voter registration paperwork including driver's license number-gives age, sex, and race.

    "5- right precinct - doesn't matter w/ early voting"
    You still have to know your address and match it up with who you are impersonating.

    "6- already voted - first day of early voting"

    Leaves a record. Election board data shows this isn't happening as you would have upset voters .

    "7- recognition - ok I'll give you that one..."

    When Project Veritas tried this stunt, several operatives were recognized

  • Krimson Mar 14, 2013

    Junkmail: "it's really, really, a lot more complex than "Just get one IT guy to do it!"

    OK, you win that one. LOL!

    But I have to imagine that some of these things are already in place - how does a Polling Place know a person has voted already? Or why have a lap-top in the polling place if its not there to verify my identification? What happens to all those bar-codes that get scanned. Are they actually tracking my info and what happens to that info at the end of the day? Does it go to BOE for further verification at a later time (the time b/w voting and certification)?

    If you're in IT, you come up with a solution... Cheers!

  • junkmail5 Mar 14, 2013

    I don't see how this would cost much (get one of the State IT guy to figure it out).- watts1000

    Obviously you're not in IT :)

    The kind of solution you suggest, spanning HOW many polling places, most of which aren't wired for this type of connection, and you'd want a secure connection given the data involved... plus setting up a back end with the bandwidth and power to handle millions of requests in a short period, securely and reliably.... not only is that gonna need a lot more than "one state IT guy" it's gonna require:

    A BUNCH of hardware that costs money
    A BUNCH of training of all those HOW many poll workers to use it
    A BUNCH of time by a bunch of IT guys to set everything up at HOW many sites each election?
    A BUNCH of teams all over the state to go fix problems on election day that'd shut the polling place down until fixed

    it's really, really, a lot more complex than "Just get one IT guy to do it!"

    it's not just setting up a printer someplace.