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North Carolina Voter ID Becomes Law Despite Veto Attempt by Gov. Cooper

By Nathan Ham

Voters in North Carolina will have to have some form of photo identification ready to present the next time they go to the polls.

The North Carolina House of Representatives voted by a 72-40 margin on Tuesday to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto on the bill that was approved by voters in November’s general election.

NC Speaker of the House, Tim Moore, released a statement on Tuesday praising the legislature for passing this law.

“Delivering a voter ID law to North Carolinians who supported this simple yet essential election integrity measure on the ballot in November was a constitutional imperative,” said Moore. “I’m proud of the commitment House lawmakers made to finish this accomplishment and keep our promise to the people of North Carolina who approved voter ID in our state constitution.”

There is still a chance that the judicial system could intervene with this law, but at least for now, voters in North Carolina will need a photo ID to vote in the next election.

Senator Deanna Ballard, who represents Watauga County, also issued a statement supporting the amendment and the voters who approved it in November.

“You spoke, you decided, and we acted. I voted for a bipartisan Voter ID implementation bill, which allows voters to use a range of IDs. I’m happy to have voted for it a second time to carry out the will of the people and override Governor Cooper’s veto for this commonsense legislation,” said Ballard.

There are numerous IDs that will be acceptable to vote with including a driver’s license, military and veteran ID, passport, college ID, state ID cards, state and municipal employee IDs and tribal enrollment IDs. There will also be a new type of photo ID that will be issued by each county’s board of elections.

For people who do not have a photo ID at the poll, he or she would still be able to cast provisional ballots and sign an affidavit explaining why they do not have an ID.

In Gov. Cooper’s statement regarding his decision to veto Senate Bill 824, he says that this law does not accomplish anything and would not prevent the current election fraud investigation going on in the United States House District 9 race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. The state board of elections has still refused to certify the results after several absentee ballots were improperly handled.

“Requiring photo IDs for in-person voting is a solution in search of a problem. Instead, the real election problem is votes harvested illegally through absentee ballots, which this proposal fails to fix,” said Cooper. “In addition, the proposed law puts up barriers to voting that will trap honest voters in confusion and discourage them with new rules, some of which haven’t even been written yet. Finally, the fundamental flaw in the bill is its sinister and cynical origins. It was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters. 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.”

Other organizations inside the state were not pleased with the decision to override the veto. Equality NC released a statement saying that forcing people to have a photo ID to vote is just another form of voter suppression that “targets individuals who already face systematic barriers to obtaining valid photo identification, this includes transgender people, people of color, immigrants and individuals of lower income status, among other marginalized groups.”

Kendra Johnson, the Executive Director of Equality NC, said that voter ID is “nothing short of an attempt to restrict and regulate whose voice is heard at the ballot box. It is shameful that the North Carolina legislature continues to disproportionately target those who already face numerous other barriers to having their voices heard.”

“Transgender North Carolinians face multiple barriers to obtaining accurate photo ID,” said Equality NC Policy Director Ames Simmons. “We remain committed to removing those barriers and ensuring that trans people in our state have the information they will need to vote.”

Currently there are 34 states that have laws requiring a photo ID to vote at the polls.