House plans go-slow approach for voter ID bill

Posted March 5, 2013

— Republican House leaders said Tuesday that legislation requiring voters to present photo identification before casting a ballot will undergo weeks of deliberation and review before being filed in late March.

House Elections Committee Chairman David Lewis said a public hearing will be held next Tuesday to gather input on the idea of a voter ID, followed by two meetings where experts both for and against the issue will discuss the challenges to implement the plan.

House Speaker Thom Tillis said one such challenge is how to handle the votes of people who don't have a photo ID. He suggested treating them as provisional ballots, which would be counted only after people were able to prove their identity to elections officials.

“A convincing majority of North Carolinians support voter ID, and we will pass a strong bill this session,” Tillis said. "This is the right approach to move North Carolina to a photo identification voting system.”

The House Elections Committee won't vote on the resulting legislation until other lawmakers and the public can again air any concerns about it, said Lewis, R-Harnett. He said he hopes to have the bill to the House floor by mid-April.

"This bill will not be rushed," he said.

Lewis pleaded with Democratic lawmakers and groups opposed to voter ID to openly discuss the issue, saying the GOP-controlled House will move forward on the legislation with or without them but wants to craft the best possible bill.

“We get that you don't like it, but give us your input about how we can make this the best bill it can be.” he said.

"That's a much better process than just slamming something through without a lot of public input," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina, a left-leaning political advocacy group.

Still, Democrats quickly blasted the idea of requiring an ID to vote, saying instances of voter fraud in North Carolina are rare. They suggested it is, instead, a way to keep Democratic-leaning voters from casting ballots.

Voting, voters, polling place, polling booth, ballots generic Even with slow process, Dems criticize voter ID plan

Rep. David Lewis GOP House leaders discuss voter ID

"They're trying to create the perception that there's rampant voter fraud when there's no statistics to bear that out," said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham. "It will disproportionately impact voters who will likely come to the polls and be more likely to vote either Democrat or independent than Republican, and that is their goal – to repress that vote by any means necessary."

Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, said "a vote-less people are a voiceless people," and called the voter ID proposal "fundamentally wrong."

"It would disenfranchise thousands of voters currently registered in this state," Pierce said.

Lewis argued that the integrity of elections need to be ensured.

"We're doing this so that every North Carolinian – every citizen who's entitled to vote – has the opportunity to do so and that that vote counts," he said. "We stand ready to listen and work with those who want to legitimately talk about this important issue."

Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, said photo IDs can be easily faked, so that doesn't guarantee that someone determined to commit vote fraud can be stopped. He facetiously suggested the GOP push for inking voters fingers when they cast their ballots, as is done in some developing nations.

"We have the best voting system in the world in this state – in this country," Michaux said. "I don't see why we need to mess it up with any other things that would cause people not to be able to cast that ballot that they have a constitutional right to do."

Michaux noted that people who cast mail-in absentee ballots are asked for identification, but Lewis said the bill would likely address that issue.

Tillis said it also would set procedures for handling the votes of people who don't have their ID when they go to the polls.

"Technically, you may not have an ID at the time you vote, but you will have to have some authentication for that vote to be recorded," he said.

Florida uses a signature verification as a back-up. Some suggest actually taking photos at the polls for cross reference.

"People who have (and ID) show it. People who don't, they still have some kind of protection, some kind of verification process," said Phillips of Common Cause.

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said he welcomes the opportunity to air his concerns as the voter ID bill is drafted, although he remains convinced that any legislation will unfairly affect poor, elderly and minority voters and will be a needless expense for the state.

"We will work diligently with others to provide constructive proposals to protect the integrity of the election process and ensure that no eligible voter is turned away, or made to come back a second time, simply because they lack or forget to bring a photo ID when they vote," Hall said in a statement. "That should be the goal we all share – we must honor every citizen’s right to cast a ballot that counts, as the North Carolina constitution promises."

The state hasn't determined the cost of providing free photo IDs to people who don't already have them, Lewis said, but it likely would be minimal. Georgia has issued fewer than 27,000 such IDs over the past six years, he said.

"We feel it is important that people have faith in the integrity of the system,” he said. “If we can restore some confidence in folks – I really feel that's priceless.”


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 8, 2013

    More Big Government, Big Brother laws wanted by the self-professed "less government" party...

    This pretty much sums up the Republican approach...

    "Hey, poor people! In order for you to claim your Constitutional rights, you must transport yerself to the Government office, pay yer cash money for this here gubmint ID badge, submit yer photo into the Gubmint Central Database system, (give us yer fingerprint and some DNA while yer at it) and keep this ID badge safe for yer entire life so yew can present it every 4 years to vote. Oh, and you can't marry that person you're with. Did I mention that we want to keep gubmint outta yer life?"

  • silkesmom Mar 6, 2013

    Some more actual facts about voting:

    When one submits a registration to vote by mail, one should be prepared to show an id the first time one votes. The driver's license number and/or SSN number is used to cross checked against databases for validity. Just entering anything doesn't cut it, hence the possibility of an id request first time out.

    The voter card the BOE sends you is not considered id, but a notification of polling place location and the assorted districts and races you can vote in, based on your residence. This why it is so important to update your DL (or id) and voting information when you move.

    Returned voter card mailings sent from the BOE trigger a verification process when you do go to vote to ensure your residence is correct.

    If you don't vote very often, you may become "inactive" and asked to update your information when you do vote.

    Dead voters are removed from the poll book if a near relative reports their death or they are "inactive" after a period of t

  • silkesmom Mar 6, 2013

    Does anyone here actually speak from first hand experience?

    I've worked as a pollworker and in early voting for 7+ years. If you want to make id checking law, you need to make sure you specify: 1) what exactly is an acceptable ID, 2) if it needs to be current/valid, 3) if the photo needs to actually look like the person holding it, 4) if the current address has to be on the id and if it needs to be the current address in the poll book, and 5) define a process for the individuals who "forgot" their id. You also need to staff all polling locations such that they can process "id checking" at a fast rate and implement the "exception process" for the voter who cannot present an id. This entire mechanism has to be identically implemented at all polling places such that the voter experience is the same. Poll workers are paid (a bit) and trained and are every day/run of the mill people who voluteer to work. A process needs to easy to train and very specific so that it happens the same a

  • driverkid3 Mar 6, 2013

    NC, being legislated back to the stone age.


  • Crumps Br0ther Mar 6, 2013

    I'm pretty sure "Let's pass this stupid, pointless, money-wasting plan that NOBODY can provide any evidence would do any good whatsoever.... because we can always repeal it later" is a really really dumb position to hold.

    Yah but its the best you're going to get, its going to be passed. But it wont be repealed

  • Crumps Br0ther Mar 6, 2013

    I still dont get why you bleeding hearts will give the poor the sun and the moon but you won't give them an ID? Seems to me you would want them to have it to make sure they continue voting for a living. All of sudden you want to be fiscally responsible.

  • junkmail5 Mar 6, 2013

    Like I said earlier, you can repeal it later
    Crumps Br0ther

    I'm pretty sure "Let's pass this stupid, pointless, money-wasting plan that NOBODY can provide any evidence would do any good whatsoever.... because we can always repeal it later" is a really really dumb position to hold.

    Can you tell us why you hold such a position?

    Would "How about we just don't waste the money in the first place?"

    Wouldn't that be a lot smarter?

    And just to save you time "The other side does dumb stuff, so we should too" is an equally bad excuse. Worse in fact, since you show awareness they might not.

    if fraud doesnt exist then neither does suppression.
    Crumps Br0ther

    Except we CAN prove people who are legal to vote but don't have ID exist. In large numbers in fact.

    Whereas you can NOT prove any cases of fraud that would've been stopped with voter ID.

    I think we can all agree BOTH parties pump out enough of our own money to wasteful things. -StateFan99

    Sure. But let's not waste more.

  • junkmail5 Mar 6, 2013

    Turning a blind eye and saying this problem "doesn't exist" is horse manure. It used to be there's NO cases. Then it's extremely rare. Then rare. Then when confronted with PERSONAL TESTIMONY of people claiming to have voted multiple times on NATIONAL TV, the source is to be questioned?- Thought Criminal Ws

    But you have presented no such evidence.

    At all.

    There has been a total of ONE person presented in this entire thread who ACTUALLY voted _in person_ twice.

    And in his case he used his real name both times.... so voter ID WOULD NOT HAVE PREVENTED IT.

    The only people hookwinked so far are those dumb enough to think there's actually any significant in-person fraud going on that voter ID would do anything about.

    You can tell, because every time you ask them to prove there IS any, they can't.

    They just blindly insist there MUST be some, because some guy they know told them so.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 6, 2013

    "People who say there's no widespread voter fraud.... are either being willfully dishonest or have been genuinely hoodwinked."

    And yet you present no evidence of it and neither did anybody else on this thread.

    "It used to be there's NO cases. Then it's extremely rare. Then rare."

    Voter fraud does exist but it is rare. I don't know who claimed otherwise. What typically is not proven, is voter fraud that would be prevented with picture IDs.

    " Then when confronted with PERSONAL TESTIMONY of people claiming to have voted multiple times on NATIONAL TV, the source is to be questioned?"

    The women claimed to vote with absetee ballots multiple times. That would not be solved by voter IDs and the republicans don't want voter restrictions for absentee ballots.

  • Crumps Br0ther Mar 6, 2013

    Like I said earlier, you can repeal it later, ya know like Barry repealed the Patriot Act...oh yah wait, nevermind *snicker*