The Republican-led General Assembly fell short in its initial attempt to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a voter ID bill. But the proposal is far from dead. House Bill 351, also known as the Restore Confidence in Government Voter ID Bill, stalled after Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed it in July.
H.B. 351 would require voters to show a valid, government-issued identity document at the polls. House Rules Committee Co-Chairman Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, a primary sponsor of H.B. 351, said Republicans hope members of the legislature will reconsider the bill in September; it was kept alive by using a procedural maneuver when the override failed.
… Leaders have another trick up their sleeves, however. They may consider introducing several local voter ID bills that would bypass Perdue’s veto power and bring it effectively into law.
The state constitution allows the General Assembly to pass “local” bills that apply only to the jurisdictions (such as counties) that are specified in the legislation. Two other differences between local and general statutes: Local bills cannot be vetoed if an individual bill covers fewer than 15 counties; but they can be vetoed “if the result of [similar local] laws taken together would be a law applying in more than half the counties in the State.”
The General Assembly could pass several local bills that include fewer than 50 counties but cover the vast majority of the state’s population. More than 85 percent of North Carolinians live in the state’s 50 most populous counties. A series of local bills could make a voter ID mandate the law for nearly every resident of the state, and Perdue could do nothing to stop it.
… Perdue and Democratic Party officials — with the full backing of the Obama administration — continue to fight a voter ID requirement. On its website, the North Carolina Democratic Party claims that at least 500,000 elderly and minority voters “would be turned away from the polls” if IDs were required. They also claim there is no evidence that voter fraud is a problem in the state.
Judy McCloy, president of the North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting, also opposes the measure. She said it would exclude low-income voters, calling it little more than a modern-day poll tax.
“I believe in checks and balances,” McCloy said, “but presenting a photo ID in order to vote is not the solution. We took a stand that a voter ID does not stop or prevent voter fraud. It’s as phony as a three-dollar bill. It doesn’t protect elections at all.”
Even if H.B. 351 or a similar measure became law, there would be no provisions or mechanisms in place to verify IDs. “Fake IDs can be bought right off the Internet,” she said. “It does not stop a dishonest person from casting a ballot.”