House Republicans file voter ID bill

Posted April 4, 2013

— House Speaker Thom Tillis and Republican House leaders have filed a new proposal to require photo identification for voters.

House Bill 589, entitled the Voter Information Verification Act, or VIVA, was filed Thursday afternoon, after what Tillis said was "a transparent and deliberative process" of seeking public input.

"This bill has had more discussion than anything in recent history," said House Elections Committee Co-chairman Tim Moore.

Under the proposal, beginning in 2016, voters would be required to show a photo ID at the polls. The bill would allow "multiple forms of state-issued ID," according to Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, including tribal cards, public university IDs and state employee IDs. Private university IDs would not qualify. 

Voters without a photo ID will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot but would have to return to their local board of elections with a valid photo ID to have the ballot counted.

Approved forms of IDs that have expired would be accepted up to 10 years from their date of issuance or date of expiration, whichever is later.

For voters over 70, a photo ID that was valid at the time they were 70 will be considered valid indefinitely.  

The bill would allow free voter IDs as well as free copies of birth certificates for those who are willing to attest under the penalty of perjury, a felony, that they have a "financial hardship." The definition of "financial hardship" is not provided in the proposal.

Those who can pay for their photo ID would be required to do so. 

People with disabilities as defined in federal law would not be required to show ID. 

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The bill also makes changes to absentee voting by mail. The forms would be pre-printed, which Tillis says will make the process easier. But beginning in 2014, they will require the submission of a driver's license number, the final four digits of a Social Security number or other federally-approved identification documents like a copy of a utility bill.

Bob Hall, director of voting rights group Democracy North Carolina, questioned why the same rules for absentee voting don't apply to people who show up at the polls without identification.

"Don’t make a registered voter come back a second time after standing in line for 45 minutes," Hall said, calling the ID proposal "a giant waste of money" that creates more problems than it solves.

Tillis says the legislation will "restore some measure of confidence" in elections in North Carolina.

"Three out of four people say this is something they would like to have," he said. "That's one of the key reasons we're doing it."

Regardless of popular support, House Minority Leader Larry Hall said he believes voter ID creates barriers to a constitutional right.

"This is a pay-to-vote type of situation," said Hall, D-Durham.

The bill calls for creating a new agency, the Voter Information Verification Agency, consisting of 14 employees who will work with counties to provide assistance to voters who need IDs and to promote registration.

The proposal also directs the State Board of Elections to study the feasibility of creating a statewide digital database of photos, perhaps using facial recognition software, according to Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan. 

Moore, R-Cleveland, says the bill will be debated at a public hearing scheduled for next Wednesday. The House Elections Committee will likely vote on the measure April 17, and it would go to the floor sometime around April 22. 

House Elections Committee Co-chairman David Lewis said the legislation is very different from the photo ID bill filed last session.

"We've listened this entire way through," said Lewis, R-Harnett. "What we've heard is, 'If you're concerned about election integrity, don't leave absentee out.' We didn't.

"We've heard, 'Don't leave folks behind that don't have an ID.' We're going to have a proactive outreach to reach these folks and help them get the ID in their hand," he said.

Lewis said lawmakers don't yet have a projected cost for the legislation. 

Tillis said he expects push-back from both ends of the political spectrum on the issue, but he said he thinks the measure will ultimately benefit those voters critics have said it would hurt – those who don't have photo ID. 

"It is in every citizens' best interest to have some form of photo ID. There are a variety of benefits, and I think they're enabling to the population," he said. "We want to help them do that, and I think that's a very important benefit to this bill that has nothing to do with voter ID."


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  • ConservativeVoter Apr 8, 2013

    I bet if they made the poor, that Democrats are claiming they are protecting by opposing voterid, have a valid ID to cash their welfare check. The poor would be able to produce a valid ID>

  • Crumps Br0ther Apr 8, 2013

    That is the 24th Amendment to the Constitution. The Radical Republicans cannot require me to pay to vote, period.

    I didnt think they could make me buy healthcare either but we see how that all turned out didnt we?

  • Crumps Br0ther Apr 8, 2013

    I'll gladly show my ID at the poll if we all have universal health coverage.

    You realize what a boondoggle it is right? Look at all the people trying to get out from underneath it, the same people who passed it are exempt. Doesnt that bother you? Its garbage but if you want that because "its better than nothing" then you can have all the garbage you want

  • lessismore Apr 8, 2013

    Can the radical democrats require you to pay a higher tax on ammo and infringe on your right to own a gun? Doesn't that violate the 2nd Amendment?

  • goldenosprey Apr 8, 2013

    Bart, does the 24th amendment to the US Constitution and the Voting Rights Act apply in Canada and most European nations? Or do y'all want us to live under their laws only when it is comfortable to your ideology?

    I'll gladly show my ID at the poll if we all have universal health coverage.

  • kdogwnc Apr 7, 2013

    Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
    Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    That is the 24th Amendment to the Constitution. The Radical Republicans cannot require me to pay to vote, period.

  • skeeter II Apr 6, 2013

    No one can prove that there is much voter fraud -- there is no simple way to catch it, and the DA's don't want to prosecute those caught!

    Years ago the rumor was that people were listing cats, dogs, goats, etc as dependents on their federal income tax returns -- you only had to list the names. In the year that you had to start listing the dependent's social security number, there was a large decrease in the number of dependents listed on the tax returns! This proved that there had been fraud!

    Maybe after the photo ID is required to vote, there could be many people who do not vote that year. They may have died, moved, etc -- or they may be should not have voted in the past.

    Don't you have to be a citizen to vote in USA? Maybe some people have been voting that were not citizens! How will we prevent them from voting in the future. I heard that a bill to require presenting evidence of citizenship will be required to register to vote.

  • Bartmeister Apr 6, 2013

    Odd how quick they change their tune... junkmail5


    You never answered my posts junk.

  • ChgoGrl Apr 5, 2013

    Poll Tax, Poll Tax, Poll Tax!! That's what you do when you want to keep people from voting against you since you can't win on your own merit!!

  • beef Apr 5, 2013

    "aren't those the countries the GOP is always telling us we do NOT want to be more like?"

    Depends on the issue and if they are right or not. They are right on this one.