In an expected party-line vote, the North Carolina House of Representatives did not achieve the necessary 3/5 majority necessary to override the Governor’s veto of HB 351, the “Restore Confidence in Government” Act. The bill would require photo ID from voters.
Despite overwhelming polling showing North Carolina voters are consistently in favor of requiring photo ID at the polls, House Democrats were united against the measure. Republicans pointed out that after photo ID requirements passed in Georgia, turnout, especially minority turnout, was not affected. In fact, turnout increased among African-American voters. Republicans also pointed out the potential for voter fraud that was unaddressed under current law.
Opponents of the legislation turned to the same arguments that have been used during previous debates: it would suppress voting among the poor, elderly, and minorities, it’s a solution looking for a problem, and there’s no proof of voter fraud.
In the words of Harold Metts, an African American state legislator in Rhode Island who cosponsored their recent Voter ID legislation:
“As a minority citizen and a senior citizen I would not support anything that I thought would present obstacles or limit protections, but in this day and age, very few adults lack one of the forms of identification that will be accepted, and the rare person who does can get a free voter ID card from the Secretary of State. While I’m sensitive to the concerns raised, at this point I am more interested in doing the right thing and stopping voter fraud. Hesitation based on potential ramifications of what may or may not happen at the expense of the integrity of the system is no longer an option.”
Majority Leader Skip Stam (R-Mecklenburg) used a parliamentary procedure to keep the bill alive for the rest of the session. By voting against it, he was able to bring it back up for reconsideration. Stam had voted in favor of the legislation previously. Legislative leadership can bring up the bill again during the rest of the session.