Perdue vetoes voter ID bill, signs 22 other bills

Posted June 23, 2011

— Gov. Beverly Perdue on Thursday vetoed a controversial proposal to require voters to present photo identification before casting their ballots.

"The right to choose our leaders is among the most precious freedoms we have – both as Americans and North Carolinians," Perdue said in a statement. "North Carolinians who are eligible to vote have a constitutionally guaranteed right to cast their ballots, and no one should put up obstacles to citizens exercising that right."

House Bill 351 would require a person arriving at a voting precinct to show one of eight forms of photo ID, including a new voter card available for free from county election boards. Without the ID, people could still cast provisional ballots but would have to prove their identity later.

Republican lawmakers said the IDs would discourage voter fraud and ensure that people who come to the polls aren't turned away because someone unlawfully voted using their name. The bill was modeled on laws in Georgia and Indiana that have been upheld by the courts.

Democrats said voters already face a felony if they vote using someone else's name and point out the problem is rare. The State Board of Elections referred 43 cases of potential fraud to district attorneys in 2008 and 21 in 2010.

“We shouldn’t be surprised by how far the governor will go to score political points with the liberal wing of her party," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement. "A measure that ensures voters are who they say they are is a no-brainer, and most North Carolinians agree. It’s a shame Gov. Perdue is playing politics with the integrity of elections.”

House Speaker Thom Tillis added that most North Carolina residents back the idea of an ID requirement to vote and said it wouldn't prevent anyone from voting lawfully.

Voting easy across the Triangle Perdue vetoes voter ID bill

"Gov. Perdue’s latest veto is the clearest example yet that she is out of touch with North Carolinians," Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said in a statement.

Damon Circosta, executive director of the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Voter Education, applauded the veto, calling the photo ID requirement "ill-conceived."

"The measure would have placed undue burdens on law-abiding citizens, making it harder for thousands of qualified voters to cast a ballot, without making our election system any more secure," Circosta said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt called the ID requirement "a costly solution in search of a problem" and said thousands of senior citizens, minorities and students would have to "navigate an obstacle course of bureaucracy before being allowed to vote."

Democrats panned the ID restriction as part of a concerted nationwide effort by Republicans to discourage voting, especially among older adults and black residents. North Carolina is expected to be a battleground state in the race for the presidency in 2012.

Perdue said lawmakers could allow voters to present other forms of identification without risking the integrity of an election.

"There was a time in North Carolina history when the right to vote was enjoyed only by some citizens rather than by all," she said. "That time is past, and we should not revisit it."

The House approved the bill by a 62-51 margin, well short of the 72 votes needed to override a veto. The Senate already has enough Republican votes to override.

The veto was Perdue's eighth this year. Lawmakers override her veto of the state budget.

In addition to the veto, Perdue signed 22 bills into law on Wednesday. Those bills included  Laura’s Law, which increases the penalties and prison time for repeat DWI offenders. It was named after Laura Fortenberry, a 17-year-old from Gaston County killed last summer by a drunk driver who already had two DWI convictions.

Perdue did not sign, but allowed the Pilot Release of Inmates to Adult Care Homes bill to go into law. The bill directs state Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Correction to establish a pilot program to allow certain inmates to be released from confinement and placed into one adult care home. It will apply to those inmates who have been determined by DOC to be in need of personal care services and medication management. The home selected for the pilot program would be prohibited from having or admitting any residents who are not inmates.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • myjudas Jun 24, 2011

    64 total cases of potential fraud in the last two elections out of how many hundreds of thousands of voters?

    Getting an ID is a pain in the neck and if the only thing you need it for is to vote, that's just one more reason not to bother. But voter apathy affects minorities and the poor more than anyone else, so who cares?

  • TheBigLC Jun 24, 2011

    Plenty Coup, if you are looking for justification for spending your crazy. Show me the justification for spending 80,000 to rewire the governors mountain home?

  • TheBigLC Jun 24, 2011

    geosol, the bill has in it the ability to obtain a voter id card FREE OF CHARGE. So to you I say FAIL.

  • give me no quarter Jun 24, 2011

    So somehow this bill would create a burden on the poor? I think the article called it an obstacle, whatever. The poor in this State have no problem collecting their checks each month. They have no problem cashing them either. It is not an obstacle to get a proper ID to vote.

  • renaissancemon Jun 24, 2011

    > There is absolutely no valid reason for NOT requiring ID.

    Right, except

    it presumes guilt

    it's a warrantless search of your papers

    it strips you of a birthright without even charging you with a misdemeanor much less convicting you of a felony like the Constitution requires

    it's not in the Constitution

    the Constitution says new hurdles to voting must be put in the

    Give the legislature the power to stip the rights of someone you disapprove of and they will turn and use it against you next.

  • renaissancemon Jun 24, 2011

    >> The Constitution itself says that ALL the requirements to be able to vote MUST be contained IN THE CONSTITUTION ITSELF.

    > QUIT lying!

    QUIT maligning me!

    "Who may vote. EVERY person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized, 18 years of age, and possessing the qualifications set out IN THIS ARTICLE, shall be ENTITLED TO VOTE at ANY ELECTION by the people of the State, except as HEREIN otherwise provided." -- The Constitution of the State of North Carolina, Article VI, Section 1.

  • geosol Jun 24, 2011

    OK all you right wingers, here's a deal for you. Us normal people will agree to let you spend millions of tax dollars enforcing a voter ID card, but in return, you kids will have to support the Disclosure Act, which requires full disclosure of all donations to campaigns and PACs. How's that sound?

  • GetItRite Jun 24, 2011

    What do all of these people do with their ID after they register to vote????? Was it a hardship on them to get that ID???
    Let's face it...the people the dems think it will be such a hardship on to get an ID probably have a different id for each day of the week.

  • Plenty Coups Jun 24, 2011

    "Trying to claim there is no VOTING FRAUD is pure nonsense."

    I'm still waiting on the evidence to justify spending millions on this when the state has such a budget crisis. Please provide the evidence whatelseisnew. Voter fraud IS extremely rare.

  • pappybigtuna1 Jun 24, 2011

    We the People, citizens of the United States of America, Tax payers, Residence of North Carolina, Tax payers, Law Abiding -