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Voter Identification Faces Uphill Battle

Image of NC General Assembly where lawmakers are considering two controversial bills.
Credit NC General Assembly

The election this week was the last in North Carolina before some provisions of a voter ID law go into effect.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state over its new law, asserting that it may have a chilling effect. Proponents of the law say it is necessary for an even playing field.

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said the problem with the law isn't just the provision requiring an ID to vote,

"It started in the house as just an ID bill," he said. Later he added, "The Senate loaded it up with all sorts of other provisions."

Cutting back on early voting, eliminating out-of-precinct and straight-ticket voting are just some of those provisions.

"It was 40 other provisions they added in," Hall said.

 Becki Gray, vice president for outreach at the John Locke Foundation, disputed the significance of these extra provisions.  

"None of those things are constitutional rights either. These are sort of process things," she said.

In fact, she said that North Carolina is still one of the most liberal states in the country when it comes to voting rights.

"Just about every one of those things that Bob mentioned actually bring North Carolina more in line with other states," she said.

She pointed out that only 14 states allow straight-ticket voting, and same-day registration, which will be eliminated under the new law,  is only available in North Carolina and Ohio.

Audio for this segment will be up by 3 p.m.


Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.