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Opponents speak out against voter ID bill

Posted February 16, 2011

— A group of Democratic lawmakers and local college students spoke out Wednesday against a bill in the General Assembly that would require photo identification at the polls.

{{a href=”external_link-1”}}House Bill 430{{/a}} was introduced in 2009 but is among the priorities in this legislative session of Republican lawmakers who argue that the requirement would help reduce the chance of fraud.

It’s expected to be reintroduced next week.

Opponents, however, call it an unfunded mandate for a solution to a problem that is “statistically insignificant” and a requirement that would lead to disenfranchisement of the state’s college students, senior citizens and low-income residents.

Admitting that voter fraud exists, Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, said the occurrences were miniscule. Out of the 4.3 million votes cast in the 2008 general election, approximately 40 were identified as fraudulent.

“Instead of trying to fix something that is not broken, instead of trying to do something that is not a priority right now, we should be working on putting our citizens back to work and making situations and conditions for them to get the jobs of tomorrow,” Hall said.

Rep. William Brisson, D-Bladen, called the proposed legislation a “slap in the face” to voters in rural areas and said it is a step backward in trying to get more people involved in government.

“It involves about 35 percent of my voters,” he said. “These are people who still feel like they are part of this world and want to vote, even though they are in long-term care homes and might not have photo IDs. These are people this is just a direct impact on.”

Courtney Scott, a student at Shaw University and a resident of Georgia, said the law could lead to apathy among out-of-state students who have to go through hurdles to prove their identity to get a state-issued photo ID.

Voter ID debate heats up Voter ID debate heats up

“North Carolina shouldn’t hassle its citizens when they are trying to exercise their God-given right to vote,” she said.

State Board of Elections analysis recently obtained by WRAL News shows as many as 700,000 to 1 million registered voters might not have a state-issued photo ID.

Francis DeLuca, executive director of the conservative public advocacy group John W. Pope Civitas Institute, calls those numbers ridiculous

“Our polling shows that when we asked about people, current voters who have what they have, only 1percent said they did not have one form of government issued photo,” he said.

“It doesn't matter if it's 600,000, 400,000 or a million or one. One is too many,” North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman David Parker said. “We believe in individual rights and individual dignity, and this is what this is about.”

Twenty-seven other states currently require some form of identification to vote, and Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, has said the ID requirement would only ensure that voters are who they say they are.

"It's a no-brainer. People don't mind providing a photo ID,” he said. “It's not a problem. They expect to do it. We ought to do it," he said in an interview last month with WRAL News.

Local election board officials say that the most common complaint they hear from voters is why people aren't required to show an ID to vote.

State election officials have said they don't plan to oppose the bill, as long as it mirrors the current law that calls for some form of identification to register to vote.

"In terms of causing any major problems, I don't think it would," said Larry Leake, chairman of the State Board of Elections.

Leake says requiring a photo ID, however, would create more complications. Court rulings dictate they must be provided free to voters, he noted, which would require extra money and staff.

409 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • nanasix Feb 23, 1:25 p.m.

    WITH THE PROPER ID THEY CAN GO TO DMV AND GET A PHOTO ID, EVEN IF THEY DON'T WANT A DRIVER'S LICENSE....WHY CAN'T VOTERS BE REQUIRED TO DO THIS. IT WOULD STOP THE FRAUD AT THE POLLS.

  • nanasix Feb 23, 1:24 p.m.

    Hope our lawmakers will implement new regulations requiring the proper paper work from everyone before allowing a drivers license to be issued. Many (Middle Easterners) come here, get a driver's license, renew them and no one never knows they're here illegallY. THIS MY STOP

  • nanasix Feb 23, 1:22 p.m.

    Every driver, has to have a license. Why can't ID be required of anyone voting, or registering to vote. This is a plain and simple rule, and should be in place.

  • renaissancemon Feb 18, 7:34 p.m.

    The digital thumb scan idea answers some of my objection, but it is not the bill in question. The bill amounts to a property requirement. For that matter so does the current statute which already requires ID to register.

  • delilahk2000 Feb 17, 1:46 p.m.

    THEY ALSO NEED A PHOTO ID OR THUMB ID FOR THESE FOOD STAMP CARDS TO KEEP THEM FROM BEING SOLD SO THEY CAN BUY THEIR DRUGS. IT DOES HAPPEN I HAVE SEEN IT. SO DON'T GO SAYING I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.

  • XLAW Feb 17, 12:58 p.m.

    Renaissancemon, answer is easy enough. No ID. A digital thumb scan is taken and is instantly compared when you vote. And a thumb print is required on the absentee ballot to prove eligibility. Used to be required all the time to cash a check.

  • companychick2005 Feb 17, 12:56 p.m.

    There is no where that anyone can go now in this day and time and a person or business will except your word for it policy. What is the big deal people I would hate to think or know that a person that I feel strongly about lost/won a race of any kind on fasle pretenses. To all that has opposed this bill I have read how you feel and I hate to think what you would have to say if the person you have voted for fall short at the polls due to fraud. Think about that? Also, I have noticed in life that people who don't want to show/carry an ID usually have something to hide.

  • renaissancemon Feb 17, 12:07 p.m.

    "You cannot go through life legally these days without some sort of ID."

    Yes you can, because I know someone who does, in Greensboro. He is a decorated and honorably discharged Vietnam combat veteran. He has a lot of trouble making ends meet but he would rather starve than participate in a Show Me Your Papers society. How dare you deprive him of his vote?

  • renaissancemon Feb 17, 12:05 p.m.

    It is a property qualification to vote. That's forbidden by the state constitution. You can't constitutionally refuse someone a ballot just because they don't possess some physical object. An ID card is a tangible thing, a piece of property.

    Also what if my wallet gets stolen on my way to the polls?

    And I still don't see an answer about about absentee by mail. Do you propose to make absentee voters mail in their ID card along with their ballot?

  • davidbh61255 Feb 17, 11:27 a.m.

    My Mother is in a long-term care facility,lived in the country, worked and paid taxes all of her life and wouldn't be caught dead without her ID!! She is proud of who she is and is hiding from no one!!

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