Local Politics

No voter ID this year doesn't mean no argument over it

Posted October 25, 2016

— In Edgecombe County, where nearly 58 percent of the population is black, the state's now-nullified voter ID law is more than a black-and-white issue.

"A lot of people said they weren't going to vote because they didn't have the ID," said Belinda Johnson, the cook and cashier at Sal's Korner in Pinetops. "We fought for years to have this right. Why not do it?"

Three years ago, the Republican-led legislature approved a raft of changes to state elections laws, including instituting a requirement that people show photo identification at the polls to cast their ballots. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down several provisions of the law this summer, including voter ID, saying it was passed with "discriminatory intent" to keep blacks from voting.

Main Street, NC Voters sound off along Main Street in NC

Doug Craig, a Pinetops resident, said the law also targeted older and less-educated voters and would be especially harmful in North Carolina's rural communities.

"One of the issues we have in eastern North Carolina, especially with our older population, is transportation. They can't go 10 miles down the road to get an ID card," Craig said.

Another of the overturned provisions would have cut the early voting period from 17 to 10 days.

Pinetops resident Ronny Webb called the longer early voting period "foolish," saying it encourages voter fraud. He dismissed the argument that requiring identification to vote would suppress votes cast by blacks.

"If they're American citizens, they can get (and ID)," Webb said. "They got plenty of time. It's just once every four years. They got time to get their ID straight."

Shatavia Parker, a millennial voter, said the black vote is pivotal this year in tight races from president on down.

"I think it's important, especially young people and African-Americans, to vote because it's definitely going to make a difference, and it's going to count."


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  • Robert Lewis Oct 26, 2016
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    AIDEN, do you understand LIFE itself. Prob not. You live in a rainbow land of fairies and unicorns

  • Jeffrey Derry Oct 25, 2016
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    I support voter ID

  • Morris Vobserv Oct 25, 2016
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    Anyone who votes should be required to have ID. They must have ID for medicaid, bank check cashing, etc. It's free if they are too poor. So is transportation. If they don't have transportation to get an ID how are they going to go vote? Stop making excuses. Stop making it a black issue. It is insulting to black people to insinuate that this is a 'poor black people' issue. It's not. It's a fraud issue, primarily used by democrats. They have tons of registered voters and they don't vote. So 'activists' show up and vote in their name while the registered voter sits at home. It's called fraud...not racism.

  • Aiden Audric Oct 25, 2016
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    Ronny Webb's statement. Wow. I'm sure he has no sources for his idea that early voting encourages voter fraud. And we all can come up with sources to show it's not the case.

    And I'm sure he thinks that he's smarter than all the lawyers and judges who have reviewed what happened and said "they targeted minorities."

    Does he understand that requiring people to get an ID is a form of a poll tax? I have no problems with an ID for voting, unfortunately our law restricted IDs to those that democrats tend to not have.

    Who am I kidding? He doesn't understand any of these things.