Voter ID to cost state about $3.5M

The House Finance Committee signed off Thursday on a bill that would require voters to show photo ID when they go to the polls. Paying free state-issued ID cards would cost less than $1 million, according to one estimate.

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Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — Issuing free identification cards to voters who don't have other forms for photo ID would cost less than $1 million over the next year, according to a fiscal analysis by the the legislature

The House Finance Committee passed the bill Thursday morning after amending it to make clear that anyone coming to the Division of Motor Vehicles to obtain a driver's license or other ID card could register to vote at the same time. 

"If you don't have an ID card in this society, you need one," Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg, said.

The current draft of the bill does away with a requirement that someone sign under threat of perjury that they cannot afford an ID. 

The next stop for the bill will be the House Appropriations Committee. It is expected to be heard by the full House on April 24. 

A fiscal analysis handed out to committee members showed the state would spend less than $1 million on free ID cards, likely much less, in the first year the photo ID requirement was in effect. After that, the state anticipates spending roughly $24,000 a year on free ID cards. 

Lawmakers anticipate spending another $2.5 million over the next four years on voter outreach efforts. 

Debate in the Finance Committee centered on many of the same topics that the House Elections Committee covered Wednesday.

Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, raised an objection that students in his district who attend Duke University and North Carolina Central University would be treated differently. N.C. Central students would be able to use their student ID cards in order to vote, but Duke students would not. 

"There's no logical reason a Duke ID isn't as good as NCCU ID," Luebke said. "I think you're just trying to keep people from voting."

The measure passed 18-10.

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