The state House last Wednesday passed a bill requiring voters to show a photo ID when they go to the polls in 2016.
House Republicans pushed through the measure, saying the public demanded more stringent ballot security at polling places – that voter fraud was more prevalent than thought and that in a modern, mobile society, fewer election officials personally know voters. “Our system of government depends upon open and honest elections,” said Rep. David Lewis, a farm-equipment dealer from Dunn and a Republican. “Having people prove who they say they are as a condition of voting makes sense and guarantees that each vote is weighted equally and cumulatively determines the outcome of elections.”
But the move met strong opposition from Democrats, who said a photo ID would create longer lines at the polls; make it harder for the elderly, African-Americans and some students to vote; and would unconstitutionally create different categories of voters.
“This bill would attempt to turn back the strong voting we’ve had in North Carolina,” said Rep. Garland Pierce, a Baptist minister from Laurinburg, noting that the Tar Heel State had the 12th highest turnout in the country last November.