As many as 613,000 North Carolina voters may be unable to cast ballots if a voter ID law moves through the state legislature. Republican lawmakers in the North Carolina legislature are discussing changes to the state’s voting laws, namely a new requirement for voters to show valid state-issued identification at the election polls. Although no specific bill has been proposed yet, experts say that Duke students, many of whom are from out of state, may experience significant changes to their voting rights. “A photo ID requirement might not seem like that big of a deal to most of us, but the fact of the matter is that democracy and our voter rights is not about most of us, it’s about everybody,” said Bryan Warner, director of communications for the North Carolina Center for Voter Education. “We need to… ensure that we’re not disenfranchising anyone.”
Although the precise provisions of the anticipated bill remain uncertain, Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina—a nonpartisan democracy advocacy group that works to increase voter participation—said that the legislation will likely be similar to the “Restore Confidence in Government” bill. That bill, which passed the House and Senate before it was vetoed by then-Gov. Bev Perdue last June, would have required all voters to provide either a North Carolina driver’s license or state photo identification in order to vote.
Since his election to office, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has supported the movement toward establishing voter ID laws. McCrory has since indicated, however, that he would be receptive to considering a bill that calls for other forms of identification, such as voter registration cards.
“I still would like [a] photo on it but I’d also be willing to accept other options,” McCrory told reporters during a visit to the General Assembly.