In 20 years as Rowan County’s elections’ board director, Nancy Evans recalls only one obvious instance of voter fraud. A playboy who wanted to test the system in 2008 completed an early voting absentee form and later penned a second ballot at the polls, she said. When investigators found the inconsistency, Evans said, the rogue voter admitted he wanted to see if he could fool the system. “He might have got away with voting but he only voted once because the other vote was removed,” Evans said. “I turned his name over to the state and that was dealt with that way.” But voter ID supporters say officials often aren’t aware of voter fraud, igniting a statewide debate between voter confidence and voter suppression. On Thursday, N.C. Rep. Harry Warren (R-Salisbury) introduced the anticipated — and controversial — Voter ID bill that Republicans hope will curb voter fraud and boost confidence in the election process. The measure would require voters to show a government-issued photograph at the polls, starting in 2016.
“I felt like the bill we had last year only addressed voter ID balloting at the polls,” Warren said, noting that “other opportunities” for voter fraud in provisional and absentee ballots had been seemingly ignored. “That’s why I began work in July,” he said, “to do a more comprehensive bill that addressed voter integrity throughout the voter process as well as address the concerns of those who are opposed to voter ID.”
Warren said he hopes the bill addresses concerns that the measure would disenfranchise older voters, students and the poor. Warren’s legislation would accept student IDs from public universities, driver’s licenses up to 10 years after expiration and state employee IDs. It would also allow residents 70 or older to use expired IDs.
Thousands of North Carolinians who do not have driver’s licenses could get a non-operator ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles at an estimated $10 each. Warren said there could be additional costs for those who need to obtain a birth certificate, but voters who are financially strapped may be able to obtain them free.
Following Thursday’s announcement, NAACP President Rev. William Barber criticized GOP leaders for introducing a “clearly unconstitutional” bill. He said those born elsewhere wouldn’t be covered by the state if they need an out-of-state birth certificate.
“Citizens born elsewhere will still have to shell out time and money to obtain their birth certificates,” Barber told the News & Observer. “Birth certificates can cost up to $45 to obtain in some states. Moreover, nearly 20 states require people to provide a photo ID before the state will give a copy of a birth certificate. In some states, the wait time to get the birth certificate can be months, especially if you have to write away for it.”
Full Article: Voter ID bill takes shape | Salisbury Post.