On the eve of a state Senate hearing on a proposed law requiring voters to present photo ID, hundreds of people gathered to protest the bill, saying it would make it harder for students, minorities and elderly voters to cast a ballot. And proposals to further limit voting, such as restrictions on early voting and Sunday voting, are still possible as the legislative session gets set to wrap up. “We are in a battle for the ballot,” North Carolina NAACP President the Rev. William Barber II told the crowd gathered behind the General Assembly building for the 12th “Moral Monday” protest. “If we ever needed the right to vote, we need it now.”
Supporters of the bill say it is necessary to fight voter fraud and make sure that voting is carried out honestly in the state. Opponents, including many Democratic lawmakers, say the true purpose of the bill is to suppress voting among groups that generally lean left, such as college students. They say there is no widespread voter fraud in the state.
The Voter Identification Verification Act is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday afternoon, with a vote expected to follow shortly after. The Senate version of the bill limits the types of identification that could be used to cast a ballot more than the House version does.