The General Assembly will move gingerly but deliberately to pass a law this year requiring voters to show IDs at polls, said state Rep. David Lewis, chairman of the House election law committee. Republicans have sought a voter ID law for years, saying it’s needed to prevent election fraud. State Sen. Wesley Meredith of Fayetteville supports the idea and expects such a bill to be one of the first pieces of legislation he will sponsor when the General Assembly reconvenes Jan. 30.
The details of what exactly the law would require of voters remain to be worked out in light of recent court rulings that have stalled voter ID measures in other states. But Democrats, who lost their majority in the legislature two years ago, argue that an ID requirement would prevent a significant number of people from voting – mainly minorities, the poor and the elderly. Critics have called voter ID laws across the country a Republican tool to help them win elections.
Lewis said he wants to ensure that the law complies with the Voting Rights Act. North Carolina doesn’t need to go through the effort to pass a law only to have it struck down by the courts, he said.
Lewis has been considering how to get a photo ID into the hands of legitimate voters who don’t have one. He also has thought about whether the state should implement a photo database with facial recognition technology, so a voter could be identified at the polls without having to bring an ID card.