The Senate voted 33-12 Tuesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of legislation to implement the state’s new requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls. The House is expected to complete the override process on Wednesday, and if that does indeed happen, voters would have to start showing IDs during municipal elections next fall. Cooper issued his veto last Friday, calling the bill “a solution in search of a problem.” He said the whole voter ID effort had “sinister and cynical origins,” citing a 2013 state voter ID law that federal courts later threw out after determining it was targeted at suppressing minority voting. “The cost of disenfranchising those voters or any citizens is too high, and the risk of taking away the fundamental right to vote is too great, for this law to take effect,” Cooper said in his veto message.
Republican senators noted Tuesday that voters statewide approved a constitutional amendment last month requiring photo IDs at the polls, and they said they tried to make the new rules easier to meet.
“We don’t want anyone to be disenfranchised,” said Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, noting lawmakers adopted more than 30 changes to the bill before it was passed.
Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, who voted for the bill previously, voted against it Tuesday, saying it wasn’t “quite ready for prime time.”
“Often times when we vote on bills, it’s with the expectation that further improvement will take place and that we will eventually get to where we want to be. But unfortunately, I don’t believe we’re quite there yet,” Clark said. “Yes, [voters] voted that they wanted to have a photo ID option as part of the process, but they want to make sure that is done right.”