@NCCapitol

Voter ID bill generates plenty of interest in House hearing

Posted March 15, 2011

voting booth generic, polling place, voting, voter

— People crowded the Legislative Building on Tuesday to support and decry the idea of requiring North Carolina voters to show a photo identification card to cast a ballot.

Republicans filed House Bill 351 late Monday, after lawmakers said earlier that the House Elections Committee wanted to hold a public hearing before any legislation was introduced.

Democrats railed against the maneuver on Tuesday, calling the two-hour public hearing a sham because no one had a chance to review the bill before speaking about it.

"It appears that the deal is done," said Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham. "We don't think that's the way to engender public confidence."

The committee had planned to vote on the bill immediately after the hearing, but Chairman David Lewis, R-Harnett, said members want to review the six-part bill more before voting on it.

"It felt there were too many little things to be changed to get all that done in the time we had and allow full and open debate among the committee," Lewis said.

The bill would require photo identification, or the voter must cast a provisional ballot. Voters could obtain free voter identification cards affixed with photos through county election boards if they don't have another valid ID.

Hall said the bill was "a solution looking for a problem," noting that voter fraud is a rare occurrence in North Carolina.

"This bill is nakedly partisan, nakedly partisan, nakedly partisan," House Minority Leader Joe Hackney said. "It's about suppressing the vote in two groups in particular – older voters and younger voters."

The bill doesn't allow students to use their university IDs, and many older residents mo longer have driver's licenses, the lawmakers said.

The group Americans for Prosperity brought voter ID supporters from Greensboro and Wilmington by bus to speak during the public hearing.

Voter ID bill generates plenty of interest in House hearing

"Restore the honor in voting. Let them know their vote counts," one speaker said.

"There is voter fraud taking place in our state. Requiring photo ID would stop the majority of that," another said.

Meanwhile, Common Cause North Carolina organized college students opposed to the idea.

Courtney Scott, a junior at Shaw University from Georgia, said the measure would lead to apathy among college students because they wouldn't want to have to go through the added step of getting a state ID solely to vote.

"We should be able vote just like anyone else, with the same right without having to go through such hoops and loops," Scott said.

Bob Phillips, director of Common Cause, said paying for people's voter IDs would deplete a state fund used to finance judicial campaigns.

"I find it a little ironic that a proposal that is supposed to be instilling confidence in government is actually harming one of the things that just about anybody, regardless of their political stripe, is most concerned about – big money in politics," Phillips said.

80 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 18, 11:09 a.m.

    For those wanting to INCREASE GOVERNMENT...those wanting to INCREASE BIG BROTHER... please provide proof that massive voter fraud exists, as you say it does, and that photo IDs would solve this exact problem.

    Others here have provided proof that there is no massive voter fraud. When you don't find big fraud, maybe you'll realize that there is none.

    Will you work on creating jobs now?...like you promised?!

  • tunkgdh Mar 17, 9:07 a.m.

    The dead voted for years in Warren County. This is a good idea. Democrats are just playing the old folks and face cards as usual. If they can't win, they play these
    wild cards. Get real people. People lie and cheat a lot to win and I'm tired of the illegal voting. If a check was involved, it would be a problem getting a ID.

  • weasel2 Mar 16, 2:56 p.m.

    ACORN could get these people to vote without an ID. Let ACORN drive them to DMV, get a free ID card. Makes more sense than giving them free cellphones!!!!!

  • gunny462 Mar 16, 2:28 p.m.

    "We need money for other programs, thAT have been cut by the state. Now the GOP want to take money from unemployed people, who benefits may be running out. Shame on the GOP. Liberal Lion"

    Really? omg, who PAYS the unemployed? WHO OVER paid the unemployed, the reps? NO, THE DEMS. You even mention that programs have been cut by the state.. who was incharge when those cuts happened?

    "The GOP will do anything to suppress the black and poor folks vote. The NC GOP wants to stay in power at all costs, They want to take away a citizens right to vote"

    Please POST any fact that the GOP has or is doing this, and then POST a fact about the DEMS being racists.

  • Liberal Lion Mar 16, 2:02 p.m.

    We need money for other programs, thAT have been cut by the state. Now the GOP want to take money from unemployed people, who benefits may be running out. Shame on the GOP.

  • Liberal Lion Mar 16, 1:59 p.m.

    The GOP will do anything to suppress the black and poor folks vote. The NC GOP wants to stay in power at all costs, They want to take away a citizens right to vote.

  • purplepat777 Mar 16, 12:07 p.m.

    I don't care if you can prove voter fraud or not, frankly. A photo ID is required for many, many commercial and financial transactions. If having to provide a photo ID is REALLY a hardship for so many people, let's get rid of their requirement everywhere. I can think of little else more important than voting and making sure the people who vote are legally entitled to do so.

  • gunny462 Mar 16, 9:33 a.m.

    "Its an odd priority when the state is facing a huge budget deficit. Plenty Coups"

    Funny! where were you when the dems got us into this situtaion? YOU kept voting political lines and NC is paying for now. Use obama tactics and make it a penalty for not having an I.D to vote and thats how you pay for it, just like in obamacare ;)

  • gunny462 Mar 16, 9:29 a.m.

    "I've done that already and there is still no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Most of the allegations turn out to be false.Plenty Coups"

    Actually, Plenty, show me the proof thatit's NOT! You evidently don't read the articles so my telling you to look it up is moot, so show me where any facts show t's NOT wide spread.

    Also, you bring up that 50 states have absentee ballots for military (which they do), but many states actually COUNT those votes BEFORE the election process is over. Show me that proof as well that they are ALL counted.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 16, 9:22 a.m.

    "Perhaps the lack of integrity in elections is why we have the budget deficit."

    Give me a break. Again, no evidence of your vague insinuations.

More...