We’ve said all along that GOP lawmakers’ push for voter ID in North Carolina was more about suppressing the votes of Democrats than tackling fraud. The restrictive N.C. Senate bill unveiled last week that some legislators are trying to ram through in the waning days of the legislative session this week proves the point. The bill reduces by half the types of photo identification that were allowed under the House version, and makes it particularly onerous for college students to vote. Under the Senate bill, no college ID card would be acceptable. The House bill does allow student IDs, but only from N.C. schools. The Senate limits acceptable IDs to those issued by the government – driver’s license, passports, non-driver IDs and military or veteran cards. The bill also eliminates measures designed to educate voters about vote law changes.
N.C. lawmakers already targeted student voters in other legislation. A bill introduced earlier this session penalizes parents by taking away their $2,500 tax deduction for a dependent if their child registers to vote at their college address rather than the parents’ address. The bill also requires voters to have their vehicles registered at the same address as their voter registration. That also could cut down on college student registration, since many students maintain their vehicle registration in their home counties.
These and other proposed voting restrictions – including bills that would shorten early voting and end same-day registration during early voting, plus provisions to make it more difficult for provisional ballots to count and for ex-felons to vote – feel like voter suppression, not voter integrity. An assessment by Democracy North Carolina of the proposals’ impacts buttress that contention.