A voter photo identification bill won state House approval Wednesday, a proposal now also altered to try to improve absentee ballot security in North Carolina in light of fraud allegations in a congressional district. The House version of legislation detailing how a new constitutional amendment mandating photo ID to vote in person is carried out starting in mid-2019 also directs the state elections board next year to figure out how people requesting mail-in absentee ballots also must offer ID. The measure now returns to the Senate, which approved an earlier version last week that didn’t address the mail-in requests. That was before attention to absentee ballots soared with word that election officials and prosecutors are investigating claims of fraudulent absentee ballot activities in the 9th Congressional District.
Editorials: Good Time To Point Out Voter ID Would Not Stop Republican Election Fraud | Elie Mystal/Above the Law
I believe that people who push voter identification requirements are cynical racists who believe in voter suppression as the best way to ensure Republican control and prop up the policies of white supremacy. But… maybe they’re just stupid. I argue with a lot of people who claim that voter ID laws are just a “common sense” solution the “dangerous” problem of voter fraud. That position is demonstrably ignorant, but centrists tell me that people who believe it need not be self-consciously malignant. Happily, the honest attempt at actual voter fraud by North Carolina Republicans will give us all a chance to test our hypotheses. If I’m right, the racists will ignore this attempt at fraud. If the centrists are right, these pro-voter ID people will actually learn something.
Australia: Coalition pushes for voter identification laws and launches attack on GetUp | The Guardian
Coalition MPs and senators have called for voter identification laws but Labor has warned such a push would amount to “a pathway to voter suppression”. The recommendation is contained in joint standing committee on electoral matters report on the 2016 election, which also calls for a higher bar to register a minor party and consideration of higher penalties for non-voting and tax deductibility of political donations. The Liberal chair, James McGrath, also used his foreword to the report to launch a stinging attack on GetUp, accusing it of providing “misleading information”. He said this was a “potential contempt of the parliament”, a claim rejected on Wednesday by the Speaker of the House. The Coalition-controlled committee recommended voters be made to verify their identity or their address at polling places by producing documents such as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or utilities bill.
United Kingdom: Government faces legal challenge over voter ID checks at local elections | The Independent
Government plans to introduce voter ID checks are to be challenged in court on the basis they deter people from voting. Neil Coughlan, 64, has launched a legal case – backed by a £10,000 online fundraising campaign – to prevent the scheme being piloted at next year’s local elections. He said he wants “to stand up against a government that is taking our democracy down a very dangerous path.”Mr Coughlan, who does not have any form of photo ID, has received support from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the Electoral Reform Society (ERS), who claim the government’s plans are “undemocratic” and a waste of taxpayer’s money.
The Senate gave final approval Thursday 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, and Don Davis, D-Pitt, joined the Republican majority in the 30-10 vote. Those two Democrats and Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, also voted for the new rules in Wednesday’s 32-11 preliminary vote. The measure now heads to the House. There was little debate in the Senate on Thursday, but several Democrats repeatedly called Wednesday 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.
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.”
The election is over but the battle over voter ID continued Tuesday as hundreds of people gathered to protest in front of the state Legislative Building. Legislators are drafting a voter ID bill after it passed as a constitutional amendment during the midterm elections earlier this month with more than 55 percent of the vote. A previous voter ID bill from 2013 was struck down in 2016 by a panel of judges who said it targeted African Americans with “discriminatory intent.” The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision. Some of the top questions that legislators will have to answer in the coming days include whether student IDs will be accepted at the polls, whether expired IDs will be allowed, and what the state will do to help people without an acceptable photo ID get one in order to avoid being disenfranchised.
Emboldened by a referendum voters approved this month, North Carolina’s soon-dwindling Republican majorities at the legislature will scramble to approve their preferred voter identification law before Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper can stop it. The GOP-dominated General Assembly returns to work Tuesday to decide how a new amendment to the state constitution requiring photo ID to vote in person will be carried out. The amendment passed with more than 55 percent of the vote, giving Republicans confidence to move ahead despite years of controversy in the state over such a mandate. Meeting now is strategic. Democrats won enough legislative seats Election Day to end the Republicans’ veto-proof control come January. So Cooper, a longtime opponent of voter photo ID laws, won’t be able to stop any lame-duck session bills as long as Republicans remain united. New restrictions, on which courts probably will weigh in, would affect over 7 million voters in the anticipated 2020 presidential battleground state, which will also feature races for governor and U.S. Senate that year.
Editorials: 4 ways North Carolina lawmakers can make a voter ID bill less than awful | News & Observer
Voter ID laws are an awful way to protect the integrity of elections. They address a problem that isn’t a problem — the North Carolina board of elections found one case in 4.8 million votes cast in 2016 that photo ID would have addressed — and they disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters who don’t have the documents, money or time to obtain an ID. Voter ID is even more troublesome in the hands of North Carolina’s Republican legislators, who have shown a remarkable capacity to craft voting laws that are unconstitutional, racially discriminatory and inevitably slapped down by federal judges. Still, NC voters decided this month to give the legislature another try, approving an amendment to the NC Constitution that allows lawmakers to draw up a new voter ID law without having to get the governor’s approval.
Editorials: Don’t use voter ID to make voting harder in North Carolina | Colin Campbell/News & Observer
I’ve got a confession to make: Back in 2006, I didn’t vote. It’s not that I didn’t want to. I’m one of those people who feels strongly that it’s a basic duty of citizenship to vote in every election. I judge people who don’t vote. My excuse was that I was a UNC-Chapel Hill student still registered to vote in my Virginia hometown. The absentee voting deadline slipped by me, as I’m sure it did for other busy college students. The following year, I moved my voter registration to North Carolina to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. But under the state’s 2013 voter ID, that switch would have been a lot harder. That’s because the legislature refused to allow student ID cards at the polls. It didn’t matter that IDs issued by public universities are effectively government-issued IDs. There had been no reports of fraudulent student IDs. GOP legislators didn’t include student IDs because they know the majority of college students tend to vote for Democrats.