North Carolina’s Attempt at Election Reform

To no one’s surprise, Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed House Bill 351 “An Act to Restore Confidence in Government by Requiring that Voters Provide Photo Identification Before Voting” a week after the legislation was ratified by state lawmakers.

In the week leading up to the veto, Perdue spokesperson Chrissy Pearson made it clear that the governor would veto the bill.  In this recent news article she said, “The voter ID is clearly not in a form that the governor can support.”

It is only the far-left liberal/progressive groups and organizations who provided opposition to any form of voter ID requirement. Apparently, the radical left had the governor’s ear on this issue. In making the decision to veto the bill, Perdue makes it clear that she thinks it is in her best interest to kowtow to the far-left fringes of her party and to ignore the majority of voters who believe that voter photo ID is a common-sense measure that would ensure voters are who they say they are.

Since 2006, in polls conducted by the Civitas Institute, support for a requirement to provide a photo ID to vote has been overwhelming.  Eighty-three to eighty-seven percent of all respondents and voters in every demographic believe that providing an ID card with a photograph is a good idea.

Opponents of the bill make several claims that point to general voter disenfranchisement. If we look to Georgia, a state that has implemented one of the nation’s most stringent voter ID laws, we see that their voter participation increase in the 2008 General Election was comparable to North Carolina’s.  We can also look to Georgia to disprove the allegation that voters will be disenfranchised due to the cost of obtaining the proper identification.  Quite the opposite is true. As in Georgia, North Carolina’s legislation includes access to a free state-issued voter photo ID.  And, if all else fails, a voter may vote by mail and will not be required to provide any form of identification.

Disappointingly, the voter photo ID bill was the only election reform legislation that made it to the governor’s desk.  At least 19 election reform bills were introduced in the State House and Senate during the 2011 session.  Before adjourning, many of the election reform bills were combined into Senate Bill 47, “Restore Confidence in Elections,” and presented as a committee substitute.  The legislature can revisit these bills in July and during next year’s short session.

After years of liberal control and influence on election laws in North Carolina, voters across the state have become increasingly aware of the flaws in our election system.  Having to only state a name and address to gain access to a ballot is no longer acceptable among voters. The voters of our state also recognize that as voter laws and practices have relaxed in the last 20 years, virtually no safeguards are in place to protect their votes.

The Republican-led legislature, by passing House Bill 351, has taken the first step to restore integrity in North Carolina’s process.  Perdue’s veto, however, represents a significant setback on the road to meaningful reform. The legislature is expected to return in July for a special session addressing election issues. But without enough support for an override, it is unlikely they will attempt to overturn Perdue’s veto of HB 351.

To no one’s surprise, Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed House Bill 351 “An Act to Restore Confidence in Government by Requiring that Voters Provide Photo Identification Before Voting” a week after the legislation was ratified by state lawmakers.

In the week leading up to the veto, Perdue spokesperson Chrissy Pearson made it clear that the governor would veto the bill.  In this recent news article she said, “The voter ID is clearly not in a form that the governor can support.”

It is only the far-left liberal/progressive groups and organizations who provided opposition to any form of voter ID requirement. Apparently, the radical left had the governor’s ear on this issue. In making the decision to veto the bill, Perdue makes it clear that she thinks it is in her best interest to kowtow to the far-left fringes of her party and to ignore the majority of voters who believe that voter photo ID is a common-sense measure that would ensure voters are who they say they are.

Since 2006, in polls conducted by the Civitas Institute, support for a requirement to provide a photo ID to vote has been overwhelming.  Eighty-three to eighty-seven percent of all respondents and voters in every demographic believe that providing an ID card with a photograph is a good idea.

Opponents of the bill make several claims that point to general voter disenfranchisement. If we look to Georgia, a state that has implemented one of the nation’s most stringent voter ID laws, we see that their voter participation increase in the 2008 General Election was comparable to North Carolina’s.  We can also look to Georgia to disprove the allegation that voters will be disenfranchised due to the cost of obtaining the proper identification.  Quite the opposite is true. As in Georgia, North Carolina’s legislation includes access to a free state-issued voter photo ID.  And, if all else fails, a voter may vote by mail and will not be required to provide any form of identification.

Disappointingly, the voter photo ID bill was the only election reform legislation that made it to the governor’s desk.  At least 19 election reform bills were introduced in the State House and Senate during the 2011 session.  Before adjourning, many of the election reform bills were combined into Senate Bill 47, “Restore Confidence in Elections,” and presented as a committee substitute.  The legislature can revisit these bills in July and during next year’s short session.

After years of liberal control and influence on election laws in North Carolina, voters across the state have become increasingly aware of the flaws in our election system.  Having to only state a name and address to gain access to a ballot is no longer acceptable among voters. The voters of our state also recognize that as voter laws and practices have relaxed in the last 20 years, virtually no safeguards are in place to protect their votes.

The Republican-led legislature, by passing House Bill 351, has taken the first step to restore integrity in North Carolina’s process.  Perdue’s veto, however, represents a significant setback on the road to meaningful reform. The legislature is expected to return in July for a special session addressing election issues. But without enough support for an override, it is unlikely they will overturn Perdue’s veto of HB 351.


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This article was posted in Elections & Voting by Susan Myrick on June 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM.

© 2011 The Civitas Institute. Visit us on the web at www.nccivitas.org.
This article can be found at https://www.nccivitas.org/2011/north-carolina%e2%80%99s-attempt-at-election-reform/

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