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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: New NC Voter ID Requirement Is Common Sense Approach

Editorial: New NC Voter ID Requirement Is Common Sense Approach

Managing Editor

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law HB 589, on August 12th, commonly referred to as Voter Photo ID law.
To sum it up, a valid North Carolina driver’s license, U.S. passport and various military IDs are among the acceptable forms of photo identification. A voter can also obtain a state-issued photo-ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles at no charge. If a voter comes to the polls without a photo-ID, they can still cast a provisional ballot.
That's a brief statement describing the new law posted on the Governor's website earlier this week.
Seems simple, you have to provide ID before voting. If you don't have ID, you can cast a provisional ballot.
No one is denied the right to vote other than those who are not eligible to vote in a precinct or are dead with other people voting for them illegally. Or, those who are not legal citizens who shouldn't be voting to begin with. Yet despite the fact the new law doesn't prohibit legal voters from casting ballots, some have filed legal challenges in court citing all manner of politically motivated scenarios that don't pass the smell test unless you're positioning to overturn the law and run a really large "get out and vote if you're illegal or dead" vote.
This law helps address issues that have long been quietly discussed and mentioned in  hush-tones within many halls of Boards of Elections offices across North Carolina.
For example, in the last election cycle I personally went to the polls to cast my vote. When I filled out the form and submitted it to the poll worker, they asked me to verify my signature and identity. They associated myself with my father's entry in the voter rolls. He hadn't voted in North Carolina for almost ten years. I advised them of that issue and they quickly made a change and off with a ballot to vote I went.
That was in the primary.
Later during the November election I went to vote and the same mistake occurred.
I was perplexed as to why they hadn't corrected that issue months prior.
Yet it became clear that if I wanted to I could plan cleverly to vote early as my dad and the return on Election Day to vote as myself. I could have voted twice without them catching it.
Now, if they required a photo ID, that wouldn't be possible.
You can't get water and sewer service in Carolina Beach without a deposit and showing a valid ID.
You can't get a checking account or cash a check at a local bank without showing a valid NC Driver's License or Photo ID. That also applies to purchasing many pharmaceuticals, buying beer or making a purchase at the state ABC store.
Want to buy a car? Sign up for cable TV service? You have to present a Photo ID.
This isn't to say that elections should be based on the acquisition of an ID, but that everyone likely already has such an ID and if not, the State will provide one to them at a reduced cost or free of charge.
And the latter has been the case for many years. There's a law that's existed for many years that provides an avenue for the lower-income population to obtain an ID free of charge at their local Department of Motor Vehicles office.
What's all the fuss about the new law?
The new law is being called one of the most restrictive in the country and dramatically altering North Carolina’s voting laws and procedures.
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan wrote to NC Attorney General Roy Cooper earlier this week stating, "In particular, the law reduces early vote by one week, eliminates pre-registration of highschoolers, ends same-day registration, restricts the ability to vote by provisional ballot, and requires government-issued photo identification to vote."
I'll agree the other changes are questionable, but the photo ID requirement resolves a host of important issues. The legislature should have left the early voting and other issues alone and focused only on the photo ID portion. After all, requiring a photo ID resolves the rest of those issues when it comes to ensuring the people registering to vote and voting early or on election day are actually who they claim to be.