The Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation setting the rules for the recently approved constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Sens. Joel Ford, D-Mecklenburg, Ben Clark, D-Hoke, and Don Davis, D-Pitt, joined the Republican majority in the 32-11 vote. A final vote is scheduled for Thursday morning before the measure heads to the House. Other Democrats repeatedly called for slowing down the process, noting dozens of changes have already been made to the draft legislation that was first rolled out a week ago and suggesting people will be wrongly blocked from voting if IDs are required starting next year. “A rollout period of five months is just too short,” said Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, noting some municipal primaries will be held in the spring. “Sometimes we don’t do a real good job as a state implementing big systems.”
But Senate Republicans voted down or pushed aside several Democratic-sponsored amendments, saying North Carolina voters spoke three weeks ago in calling for voter ID to be part of future elections.
“This doesn’t disenfranchise anybody,” said Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph. “What it does disenfranchise is cheating. … This is simply a fairness issue that people have wanted for a long time.”