I attended the House Elections Committee public hearing on implementing a voter ID in North Carolina. Unsurprisingly leftist groups including DemocracyNC, NAACP, and the ACLU were there in force. Comments ran 3 to 4 against voter ID at the meeting, despite the fact that depending on the poll you look at voter ID is supported by between 2/3s and 3/4s of North Carolinians.
A major point made by the speakers against the concept of voter ID was that the current system works. Time and time again speakers spoke about how our current system works and the different checks and verification that are used for to ensure voter integrity. Here is how the current system is supposed to work: a voter enters the polling place and states their name, the poll workers then finds them in the voter books and ask for their address in order to confirm their identity. The voter is then supposed to state their address in order to confirm their identity.
Coincidentally after the hearing I had to run home to Garner to vote on a municipal bond issue. Arriving at my precinct an hour before closing time, I was the only voter there, though another would come in after me, so poll workers were hardly rushed. After stating my name to the poll worker, he looked me up in the voter book and then stated my address to me and asked if that was correct. I said it was and then proceeded to vote. Note he asked if the address was correct, but did not have me state my address as supposed “verification” of my identity (I won’t even get into the fact the address is printed so large that it can be easily read by anyone who wanted to across the table).
Now I don’t think that the poll workers in my little precinct in Garner, NC are up to anything nefarious. Rather the simple truth is our voter system in broken. Our system for verification of voters is over cumbersome, and poll workers, like people everywhere, take short cuts in order to make their lives a little easier. The system doesn’t and never will work as designed. Ultimately, a voter ID program in NC will make verification of voters easier on poll workers, allow our voting lines to move quicker, and make our elections both simpler and more secure.