Republicans grasped historic dominance at the statehouse Wednesday, starting the legislative session with a supermajority in the House and Senate, even while expressing interest in compromising on a political flashpoint. GOP leaders are softening their stance on legislation to require voters to show a photo identification card at the polls after seeing a new analysis from state election officials showing that it may hinder nearly one in 10 voters. Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis said they favor allowing voters to show other forms of identification that don’t include a photo, such as a registration card or other government documents. “I would still like a photo on it, but I would also be willing to accept other options,” McCrory said. “I’ll let the legislature work to develop those bills. I expect a voter ID bill to be passed in the very near future.”
… The shift on a voter ID bill is a significant development on a major campaign promise Republicans made after Democratic Bev Perdue vetoed a photo ID requirement in 2011. Tillis vowed to make it one of the first bills approved this legislative session, and McCrory pledged to sign it.
Conservative activists overwhelming favor such a measure to guard against voter fraud, while Democrats warn that it would disenfranchise people, particularly minorities and the elderly, two points confirmed in the state’s analysis.
Tillis said the numbers released by the State Board of Elections – showing that as many as 613,000 registered voters may not have valid driver’s licenses or state-issued identification cards – changed the game. “There are a number of people who do not appear to have IDs,” Tillis said. “We need a treatment for that.”
Democratic House leader Larry Hall welcomed the compromising spirit from McCrory but cautioned that GOP lawmakers rejected a similar compromise bill last year. “I hope that the governor chimes in to say we need to be reasonable on this, not divisive on it,” the Durham attorney said.
Full Article: Republicans soften voter ID stance | CharlotteObserver.com.