A voter photo identification bill won state House approval Wednesday, a proposal now also altered to try to improve absentee ballot security in North Carolina in light of fraud allegations in a congressional district. The House version of legislation detailing how a new constitutional amendment mandating photo ID to vote in person is carried out starting in mid-2019 also directs the state elections board next year to figure out how people requesting mail-in absentee ballots also must offer ID. The measure now returns to the Senate, which approved an earlier version last week that didn’t address the mail-in requests. That was before attention to absentee ballots soared with word that election officials and prosecutors are investigating claims of fraudulent absentee ballot activities in the 9th Congressional District.
The 9th District election results — in which Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes — haven’t been finalized while election investigators collect evidence for a hearing later this month.
GOP Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County, who is shepherding the bill through the House, says the 9th District problems are an “embarrassment and impediment to the integrity of our entire election system.”
“We do need to get a handle on voting by mail,” Lewis said before the House voted 67-40 in favor of the broad ID measure following 2½ hours of floor debate. “I believe that this bill is an important first step that problems like (that) do not rise again.”