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NC Lawmakers Propose Allowing Range Of Voter IDs

Photo: A voting ballot
Flickr Creative Commons/ Ken Zirkel

North Carolina legislators are providing several options to vote under a proposed bill that would require photo identification at the polls. Earlier this month voters gave lawmakers approval to amend the state constitution to mandate ID at the ballot box.The 13-page draft proposal was released in advance of a Monday committee meeting and a Tuesday convening of lawmakers for a lame duck session.

Under this draft, free IDs would be provided to people without them, and it would also permit UNC student IDs as a means to vote. After the draft’s dissemination on social media, there were questions about how universities from private universities will be treated. Bill sponsor David Lewis (R-Harnett) said in a tweet, “We are hearing from the private colleges and universities on Monday on this topic. As a @campbelledu graduate, I'm interested in hearing from these institutions.”

Lewis, a member of the North Carolina House since 2003, graduated from Campbell University.

Public university IDs had not been allowed under a 2013 election law measure. That bill, which included a reduction to early voting as well as the elimination of same day registration, was ultimately ruled illegal by federal courts for unconstitutional targeting black and Latino voters.

Voters approved a the ballot referendum by a 55.4-44.5 percent result, a comfortable margin, though notably closer than the overwhelming support voter ID has received in several public opinion polls.

This latest plan includes provisions for people who have a religious objection to being photographed, or face a reasonable impediment that prevents them from getting a photo ID. Under these circumstances voters would be able to sign an affidavit, declaring who they are.

Legislators return to the General Assembly following the holiday while their veto-proof majorities remain intact.

Democrats picked up enough seats in both the House and Senate to end the supermajorities and provide the Governor with the ability to sustain vetoes. However the new legislature will not be seated until January.

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