A Republican bill requiring voters to present photo identification passed the North Carolina House Wednesday in a vote that split mostly along party lines. The Republican-controlled House approved the bill 81-36 following nearly three hours of amendments and partisan-charged debate. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Republicans also hold a substantial majority. Most Democratic amendments to ease restrictions failed, but one from Rep. Charles Graham, D-Robeson, restored state tribal ID to the forms of ID accepted under the bill. He later crossed party lines to vote in favor of the bill.
North Carolina House Republicans said Thursday their proposal to require voters to show photo identification to cast ballots would be phased in over three years and takes into account the apprehensions of older adults, the disabled and the poor. GOP legislators, holding a news conference to unveil details of a bill introduced later in the day, said the legislation’s details reflected in part what they heard at a public hearing last month and from advocacy groups. But even as the overwhelming number of speakers at the hearing opposed photo ID, and civil rights groups vow to fight any such requirement in court, House Speaker Thom Tillis said his chamber would move ahead with the measure. The House Elections Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill next week, and it could pass the House by April 23, according to one of Tillis’ top lieutenants. “Make no mistake about it — the core principles that went into filling this bill are ones that we’re staying close to,” said Tillis, R-Mecklenburg. “We will respectfully address the concerns of groups on either end of the spectrum, but we’re going to keep this tight and we’re going to live up to what we said.”
Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders pledged that if elected, they would undo vetoes from Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue that GOP legislators could not override because they lacked enough votes. At the top of the list was the 2011 bill requiring voters to show photo identification to cast ballots in person. “If we require an ID to get Sudafed … then I think an ID is good enough for the voting box in North Carolina,” McCrory said in October, referring to a law requiring purchasers of certain cold medicines to show photo ID. Fulfilling their pledge is nearly certain because McCrory was elected governor and Republicans expanded their House and Senate majorities. “I expect a voter ID bill to be passed in the very near future and I will sign that bill,” McCrory said this past week. But getting a bill to McCrory won’t be simple, with some lawmakers insistent on a tough photo ID measure and others comfortable with some non-photo documents. And while 11 states required voters to show some form of photo identification in November, photo ID laws in six other states were in legal limbo for 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
What’s this? Republicans backing away a bit from an issue they used to politically club former Gov. Beverly Perdue? It seems so, and if it is so, good. During a visit to the General Assembly on Wednesday, Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican with super majorities of his party in both houses of the legislature, indicated he might be willing to compromise on the GOP’s push to require North Carolinians to produce photo identification when voting. Republicans passed the bill last session. Perdue rightly vetoed it.
House Republicans headed off a potentially lengthy debate over whether to set aside more money for this year’s elections with a little-used parliamentary procedure Wednesday. Both the House and Senate had set aside $664,000 in their individual budgets to trigger the release of $4.1 million in federal Help America Vote Act — or HAVA — funds. Together, that extra $4.7 million would have gone toward maintaining voting machines, training poll workers and opening more early-voting sites. But when the final compromise version of the $20.2 billion budget emerged, that money was gone, sparking protests from good government advocates. That budget has passed and is currently sitting on Gov. Bev Perdue’s desk. Typically, after every budget, there is a technical corrections bill that cleans up mistakes, adds in last-minute changes and otherwise tweaks the spending plan. That bill is S 187 this year and was on the House floor today.
Lawmakers start their last week of work for the legislative session tonight. As legislators look to wrap up unfinished business, a key House leader says its unlikely that a new voter ID bill will be forthcoming this year. “It’s gone,” said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, who chairs the committee which oversees election laws and would have been the point person to shepherd a new voter ID bill through the House. Under current law, most voters do not have to show ID when they come to the polls. Under a version of voter ID bill that Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed last year, most voter would have to provide photo identification before casting a ballot. Proponents of the measure say voter ID would help make sure people don’t vote in the name of others or cast ballots when they’re not qualified to do so. Opponents say there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud and ID laws would disproportionately keep poor, elderly and college-age voters from casting ballots.
North Carolina: House seeks to soften voter ID bill as Tillis addresses concerns about GOP agenda | NewsObserver.com
Republican lawmakers are renewing a push for a compromise measure that would require voters to show identification at the polls, conceding that voiding a veto of a tougher bill is unlikely. House Speaker Thom Tillis said he is intent on overriding more of Gov. Bev Perdue’s vetoes before adjourning at the end of the month. But he recently acknowledged the one hill too big to climb may be the voter ID legislation vetoed by Perdue that would require voters to show a driver’s license at the polls. A veto override requires a three-fifths majority, meaning a handful of Democrats would need to side with the Republican majority. The compromise measure being negotiated would allow voters to show a broad range of documents to prove identity, including bank statements, utility bills or any government documents with name and address. Voters without such documents would be required to show that their signature matched their voter registration form.
A Wake County commissioner has called out the chairman of the board, saying he’s playing politics where he shouldn’t be. The situation all stems from a resolution which commissioners voted 4 to 3 to approve Monday. It supports a now dead bill in the General Assembly that would have forced voters to show identification at the polls. Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed the bill last June. Despite that veto, Republican Wake County Commission Chairman Paul Coble backed the county resolution. He said it sends a message to legislators.
Supporters of requiring photo identification for voting in North Carolina say that it protects the integrity of the vote against identity theft and fraud. Opponents, however, aren’t convinced. N.C. House Bill 351, Restore Confidence in Government, requiring that voters provide photo ID was ratified in mid-June. Within a week, Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed it.
“We shouldn’t be surprised by how far the governor will go to score political points with the liberal wing of her party,” President Pro Tempore Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said after her veto. “A measure that ensures voters are who they say they are is a no-brainer, and most North Carolinians agree. It’s a shame Gov. Perdue is playing politics with the integrity of elections.” But opponents said that this argument doesn’t hold up under deeper analysis.
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, during a Dec. 1 conference call, that investigations show that there is no “significant amount of fraud” including one investigation done under former President George Bush’s administration. “Even the Bush administration’s White House was unable to come up with any credible or any significant amount of fraud,” Schultz said. “The only evidence was incidental or occasional and certainly not the widespread voter identity theft that they were accusing folks of.”
Earlier this year, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue vetoed voter photo ID legislation bucking a nationwide trend that has seen voter photo ID laws grow this year. The General Assembly failed to override the veto and is again currently in special session with that on the agenda, but according to media reports the prospects of overturning the veto appear slim.
While debate continues at the state level, some counties in North Carolina are taking matters into their own hands. Recently several counties approved resolutions asking their state representatives to introduce legislation that would allow them to require voter photo ID at the county level.
Local election administrators are taking a wait and see approach about how the legislation — if enacted — would impact them, although many admitted that the first time they heard about the resolutions was through the local media. “My office was not consulted or made aware of any pending voter ID resolution before it was approved by the Gaston County Commission,” explained Adam Ragan, director of elections for Gaston County. “I first heard about the resolution after it was passed by reading about it in our local newspaper.”
Attempts by the state legislature to pass local bills requiring voters in some, but not all, counties to produce photo identification at the polls would fail to meet the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, according to a recent analysis by the N.C. Attorney General’s Office.
The state Department of Justice, in a Nov. 23 advisory letter sent to Gov. Bev Perdue’s office, indicated that a strategy by GOP leaders to circumvent Perdue’s June veto of a voter ID bill would run into constitutional issues. Having individual counties ask for more stringent identification rules would create an unconstitutional scenario where voters in some counties face more hurdles to vote than in other areas.
“It is therefore our views that significant equal protection concerns would arise if voter identification requirements were established for some voters and not others based merely on their county of residence,” wrote Grayson Kelley, the chief deputy Attorney General, in the letter. He later added, “The enactment of local acts applying photo voter identification requirements in only certain counties would raise serious equal protection issues under both the United States Constitution and North Carolina Constitution.”
In cities across the state, North Carolinians are going to the polls this week to exercise the most fundamental right of our democracy: the right to vote. The underlying principle of our democracy is that we are all equal in the voting booth: black or white, young or old, rich or poor. When we cast our ballot, we all raise an equal voice to determine the shape of our government.
Sadly, some North Carolina legislators seem determined to reduce the chorus of voices that will be heard in the 2012 elections. Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed an onerous bill to make voters show a government photo ID when they vote. It may seem like a common-sense requirement, but more people than you may imagine don’t drive or have a photo ID — and they are disproportionately people of color, the elderly, low-income citizens, women who change their names and the young. For example, a match-up of motor vehicle and election databases shows that while African Americans are 22 percent of N.C. registered voters, they are 32 percent of the roughly 500,000 registered voters without a state-issued ID.
Recent cases of voter fraud that have come to light in North Carolina have rekindled the fight to overturn Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a voter identification bill proposed in the spring.
The bill, proposed by Reps. Ric Killian, David Lewis and Tim Moore, would have required all voters to present photo identification at the polls and was vetoed by Perdue over the summer on the grounds it would have prevented open access to voting. “I was happy she vetoed it,” said George Taylor, professor of political science at Elon University. “I don’t see a need for it. It’s just another way to keep people from voting.”
The Republican-led General Assembly fell short in its initial attempt to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a voter ID bill. But the proposal is far from dead. House Bill 351, also known as the Restore Confidence in Government Voter ID Bill, stalled after Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed it in July.
H.B. 351 would require voters to show a valid, government-issued identity document at the polls. House Rules Committee Co-Chairman Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, a primary sponsor of H.B. 351, said Republicans hope members of the legislature will reconsider the bill in September; it was kept alive by using a procedural maneuver when the override failed.
… Leaders have another trick up their sleeves, however. They may consider introducing several local voter ID bills that would bypass Perdue’s veto power and bring it effectively into law.
The partisan battle over a voter ID bill didn’t end when Republican legislators failed to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue. The bill is still alive in a House committee, thanks to a deft and perfectly legitimate parliamentary maneuver by the majority leader, Rep. Paul Stam. It can be brought up for another override attempt anytime before the 2011-12 General Assembly session adjourns next year. It could happen when legislators return to Raleigh for a few days next month.
An override requires a three-fifths vote of members present, so the time to return a measure to the floor is when several opponents are absent. Democrats should take that as a warning against letting down their guard. News & Record Raleigh reporter Mark Binker also noted rumors that Republicans might try to pass voter ID requirements through a series of local bills, each one applying to a specific jurisdiction. The governor can’t veto local bills.
The arrest warrants for nine people in Wake County charged with felonies for voting twice in the 2008 election were barely dry when the state Republican Party came to its fanciful conclusion that its stymied campaign for requiring photo identification of all voters would have thwarted these people. The problem is, it wouldn’t have.
Wake District Attorney Colon Willoughby (yes, a Democrat) says voter IDs would have made no difference in these cases. This was about people voting twice, perhaps by absentee and then at the polls. And it should be noted that nine people were charged, and that’s out of a huge 2008 turnout. There were more voter fraud cases statewide than usual in that year, more than 200, out of over 4 million votes cast.
Which is to say, nine is not many, and there probably would have been nine with or without voter ID.
North Carolina is safe, for the moment, from what appears to be little more than an attempt to disenfranchise people who might vote Democratic. But, as Andrew Jackson once put it, “eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty.”
The House fell five votes short Tuesday of the three-fifths vote needed to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill requiring North Carolinians to show a photo identification in order to vote. But the GOP performed a parliamentary maneuver to keep the bill alive through the remainder of the 2011-12 session.
Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Cornelius, was unhappy. “I am hopeful that North Carolinians will continue to express their support for this critical issue and that their representatives will respond appropriately,” he said after the vote.
North Carolina: North Carolina House falls short of canceling governor’s veto of photo identification mandate for voters | The Republic
Republican lawmakers failed Tuesday to override a veto by Gov. Beverly Perdue that would have required voters to show photo identification before casting an in-person ballot. The House voted 67-52 in favor of the override, five votes short of what’s needed to move it to the Senate.
Republicans argued the photo ID mandate would discourage voter fraud. Democrats said the requirement is unnecessary because reports of fraud are few and that it would only lead to voter suppression, particularly older people, minorities and women.
The override question spurred passionate debate about voting in an era in which citizens show identification to enter government buildings or get on an airplane but only a half-century since blacks in the Jim Crow-era South were discouraged from voting because of the color of their skin.
As North Carolina House leaders try this week to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of voter ID legislation, they’re ready to risk defeat on one of the most politically divisive issues raised by the General Assembly’s new GOP majority.
House Speaker Thom Tillis has committed the House to attempt that override and several others during this week’s brief legislative session focused on redistricting. An override vote that fails to get a three-fifths majority means the legislation dies until after the 2012 elections. Still, Republicans appear ready to lose some votes to stake out a position for next year’s campaigns.
“You’d rather never lose on a veto override. There are some that you are more willing to take that risk than others, because you know it’s the right thing to do and the public will know that you did the right thing,” said Rep. Ruth Samuelson, who counts votes for House Republicans. “There are some vetoes that are more political than others.”
North Carolina: McCrory pushing for override of North Carolina voter ID bill vetoed by potential rematch opponent Perdue | The Republic
Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is trying to build public pressure upon lawmakers to support a voter photo identification mandate vetoed by his potential gubernatorial opponent next year.
McCrory this week began a multimedia effort to persuade Democrats to help override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of the voter ID requirement pushed by Republicans at the Legislature. An override vote is expected July 25. McCrory lost to Perdue in the 2008 election and is considering a 2012 bid.
North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed a Republican-written bill Thursday that would require voters to show photo identification before casting an in-person ballot, agreeing with fellow Democrats that the mandate would discourage participation.
“North Carolinians who are eligible to vote have a constitutionally guaranteed right to cast their ballots, and no one should put up obstacles to citizens exercising that right,” the governor said in a statement. “We must always be vigilant in protecting the integrity of our elections. But requiring every voter to present a government-issued photo ID is not the way to do it.”
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D) has vetoed a Voter-ID bill passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature. The proposed law was part of a wave of similar bills that have been pushed by Republican-led legislatures in the wake of the 2010 elections. Like those, it would have required voters to show certain approved forms of photo identification at their polling places, or else cast provisional ballots and then have to prove their eligibility later.
“This bill, as written, will unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters,” Perdue wrote in her veto announcement.
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.
Gov. Bev Perdue Monday signed into law model legislation that makes it easier for North Carolina military serving overseas to vote. Standing in front of dozens of National Guardsmen, Perdue said the legislation was part of North Carolina’s efforts to become make the state military friendly.
The bill mandates that absentee ballots be sent at least 60 days before a general election to military overseas. It would also apply to civilians stations overseas.
The measure, which had bipartisan support in the legislature, follows a model law approved last year by the Uniform Law Commission. A report by the Pew Commission of the States in 2009, found that many military stationed overseas did not have time to vote.
Republican-backed legislation requiring North Carolina voters to show picture identification before casting a ballot they know will count is headed Thursday to the desk of Gov. Beverly Perdue, who sounds ready to veto the measure that fellow Democrats have called purely partisan.
The House agreed to minor changes to the bill approved Wednesday night by the Senate. The House vote of 62-51 was well short of the margin that would be needed to withstand a veto. Democrats have been critical of GOP efforts to place additional hurdles on voting in a state with history of civil rights restrictions during the Jim Crow era.
“The voter ID is clearly not in a form that the governor can support,” Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said.
Over protests that they would effectively disenfranchise thousands of voters, the state Senate Wednesday night passed a bill that would require voters to show a photo ID. The bill passed along party lines 31-19. It now goes back to the House for agreement on minor changes.
Meanwhile a House committee passed a bill that includes sweeping changes in election law, including eliminating Sunday early voting and same-day registration.
Both bills are expected to get final approval this week and go on to Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.
North Carolina: North Carolina bill forcing voters to show photo ID before voting heading to Senate vote, likely passage | Daily Journal
North Carolina lawmakers are moving ahead on legislation to require people to show a photo identification card before voting.
A Senate judiciary committee approved the legislation Tuesday. A vote by the full Senate could come later Tuesday. The measure already has passed the House by a margin too small to override a potential veto by Gov. Beverly Perdue. Perdue has indicated she might veto the legislation.
North Carolina: Asheville-area politicians weigh in on North Carolina voter ID bill | The Asheville Citizen-Times
Debate over legislation requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot has been passionate, with the House Republican majority prevailing on the bill.
But experts like Gibbs Knotts, a political science professor at Western Carolina University, question whether the law’s impact will match the rhetoric’s heat.
The GOP contends the measure is needed to root out voter fraud and keep elections honest, while Democrats maintain it’s a politically motivated scheme to disenfranchise voters who traditionally vote Democratic.
“I think the evidence from people who have studied this is that maybe both sides exaggerate the effect,” Knotts said.
North Carolina would join 13 other states requiring voters to show a photo ID under a bill passed Thursday by the Republican-led N.C. House. The measure passed 66-48 along party lines, despite Democratic protests that it would decrease turnout.
Some critics invoked comparisons to Jim Crow-era voting barriers. The bill now goes to the Senate, which is expected to endorse it. It would then go to Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.
North Carolina House Republicans are trying to pass legislation that demands people show photo identification before they enter a voting booth, even though it appears the measure would face a veto from Gov. Beverly Perdue.
The House returned Thursday to debate further a politically divisive voter ID bill after the Republican-led chamber conducted the first of two required votes just before midnight Wednesday following just a few minutes of debate.
The bill was tentatively approved on a 67-50 party-line vote, but the GOP margin falls a few votes shy of overcoming any potential veto. Perdue’s office has been critical of the legislation, and Democrats and voting rights advocates have called it a veiled method to suppress voting among blacks, older adults and women.