The North Carolina General Assembly’s agenda for the current session shows the controversial voter identification legislation requiring voters to show photo identification at the poll is still making waves in the legislature. Supporters of voter ID legislation hope to prevent fraudulent voting at the polls and instill confidence in our democratic system. Interest groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Democracy N.C. and other national organizations oppose laws that would require voters to show photo identification. The NAACP compares the voter ID laws to the times of civil rights movements in the 1960s. Reverend William Barber, president of the NAACP, has stated that requiring a voter to show ID is comparable to a poll tax in early 20th century because of the cost to obtain licenses.
Hans von Spakovsky, the senior legal fellow of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, was also invited to speak at a House Committee on Elections hearing. The House Committee on Elections held a panel hearing with speakers from around the region to explain their support or opposition March 14. “This is not Jim Crow. This is not a police dog. This is not a fire hose,” von Spakovsky said while holding his driver’s license in the air.
Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy N.C., opposes the bill and called voter ID legislation “a fantasy tool to stop fraud.” He believes citizens will go on to fraudulently produce photo IDs. Hall ended his argument at the panel discussion by encouraging a shift of focus to the third of registered voters not voting as well as “tools of voter engagement rather than tool of voter suppression.”
Interest groups in opposition have spoken out on the effect a proposed bill could have on elderly, minorities and younger adults or college students.