Voter ID laws are an awful way to protect the integrity of elections. They address a problem that isn’t a problem — the North Carolina board of elections found one case in 4.8 million votes cast in 2016 that photo ID would have addressed — and they disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters who don’t have the documents, money or time to obtain an ID. Voter ID is even more troublesome in the hands of North Carolina’s Republican legislators, who have shown a remarkable capacity to craft voting laws that are unconstitutional, racially discriminatory and inevitably slapped down by federal judges. Still, NC voters decided this month to give the legislature another try, approving an amendment to the NC Constitution that allows lawmakers to draw up a new voter ID law without having to get the governor’s approval.
Those lawmakers will begin hammering out details Monday at a joint House-Senate committee meeting, where they will go over a draft of a bill released last Tuesday. That draft is an improvement on a strict 2013 voter ID law that ultimately was struck down in federal court, but lawmakers can still do a better job not only protecting against voter fraud, but the possibility of North Carolinians being blocked from voting.