House Republicans have thrown another twist in a proposal to require North Carolina voters to provide a photo ID when they go to the polls.
They abandoned an earlier version that would have allowed citizens to show a voter registration card or other approved documents, such as a utility bill or a paycheck, in favor of a strict government issued photo identification card.
“The bill we discussed earlier today was an attempt at a compromise that might have garnered some support from the other side of the aisle,” said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, a primary sponsor of the bill. “Unfortunately that did not work.”
“This bill is more of a purist bill,” Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, another one of the sponsors said.
Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, one of the bill’s opponents, said he would agree that the new version was a purer bill. “We might disagree, pure what?” Glazier said. “I think the effect of this bill is to disenfranchise tens of thousands of North Carolinians.
Acceptable photo identification cards include a North Carolina driver’s license, a special DMV ID card, an identification card issued by a state or federal agency, a U.S. passport, a government employee ID card, a U.S. military card or a tribal identification card.
Voters who don’t have one of those cards would be eligible to get a new voter identification card issued by a local board of elections.
Anyone not having an acceptable form of identification would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, which would be counted if a voter shows up before the official canvass at the elections office and provides a photo ID or offers an affidavit saying that the voter has a religious objection to being photographed.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the bill by a 50-28 party line vote. It now goes to the House floor.