Controversial bills that passed both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly will require voters to present very specific forms of photo identification before being permitted to vote.
The House of Representatives bill –– whose 32 sponsors or co-sponsors include Iredell County representatives Mitchell Setzer and Darrell McCormick –– passed in that chamber by a 62-51 vote. The senate’s version of the legislation, which was sponsored by 30 of the 31 Republicans in that chamber (including all three who represent Iredell), was ratified along a party-line vote.
Democrats, including North Carolina Party Chairman David Parker, have lambasted GOP leaders for the move and compared it to the Jim Crow-era poll taxes that disenfranchised southern black voters for most of the 20th century.
Republicans say the measure addresses the problem of voter fraud. But, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections, a total of only 64 potential voter fraud cases were reported in the last two even-numbered year elections.
Democrats say the voter-fraud premise is political skullduggery and that the GOP’s real aim is to dissuade Democrats from going to the polls. They point to statistics showing that Democratic voters would overwhelmingly be more impacted by a requirement for voter ID than Republicans.
Currently North Carolina is one of 22 states that have no voter ID requirement. Seven states have legislation in place or pending requiring photo identification. The laws in another 15 states require voters to provide ID with or without photos.
In some of these states, voters may cast provisional ballots until they can provide photo ID within a certain period of time. That same option will be available to North Carolina voters if the bill is ultimately signed into law.
But Gov. Bev Perdue has indicated she will veto it.