No voter ID this year doesn't mean no argument over it
Posted October 25, 2016
Pinetops, N.C. — 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.
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."