Emboldened by a referendum voters approved this month, North Carolina’s soon-dwindling Republican majorities at the legislature will scramble to approve their preferred voter identification law before Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper can stop it. The GOP-dominated General Assembly returns to work Tuesday to decide how a new amendment to the state constitution requiring photo ID to vote in person will be carried out. The amendment passed with more than 55 percent of the vote, giving Republicans confidence to move ahead despite years of controversy in the state over such a mandate. Meeting now is strategic. Democrats won enough legislative seats Election Day to end the Republicans’ veto-proof control come January. So Cooper, a longtime opponent of voter photo ID laws, won’t be able to stop any lame-duck session bills as long as Republicans remain united. New restrictions, on which courts probably will weigh in, would affect over 7 million voters in the anticipated 2020 presidential battleground state, which will also feature races for governor and U.S. Senate that year.
“We will pass a law that improves the real and perceived integrity of the election system,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican expected to shepherd a bill through the legislature.
Republicans have passed voter ID legislation twice, but they’ve been derailed both times. Federal judges struck down a wide-ranging 2013 elections law, which contained several voting restrictions, writing it was passed with “racially discriminatory intent” by targeting black residents with “almost surgical precision.”
Undeterred and rejecting the ruling as political hyperbole, GOP lawmakers decided to submit the voter ID question directly to voters. More than 30 other states require some form of identification to vote. Along with a successful November referendum in Arkansas, four states now have constitutional provisions addressing photo ID.
The state chapter of the NAACP, which sued over the 2013 law, tried unsuccessfully to get judges to keep the referendum off the ballot and is still asking them to cancel the referendum results.
Full Article: After Referendum, North Carolina GOP Tries Voter ID Again.