North Carolina legislative Republicans on Thursday advanced their goal of permanently requiring voters to show photo identification — a proposal previously thwarted this decade by veto and federal judges who declared a similar mandate racially discriminatory. Legislation to allow the state’s voters to decide whether to place a photo identification directive in their state’s constitution cleared a General Assembly committee on party lines. By taking the route of enshrining it the North Carolina Constitution, Republicans believe the idea would get permanent legal backing while putting an idea popular with their base on the November ballots in what’s expected to be a challenging political campaign for them. The bill’s next stop is the House floor in the final days of this year’s legislative session.
While more than 30 states require some form of identification to vote, only Mississippi and Missouri have constitutional provisions addressing photo ID. Arkansas will have a similar proposed constitutional amendment on ballots this fall.
“Election integrity must be one of our top priorities as legislators,” House Speaker Tim Moore said while pitching the amendment to House committee members prior to their 21-9 vote. “This constitutional amendment for voter ID achieves that.”