Updated 02/16/2011 07:59 PM
Opponents speak out about voter ID legislation
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RALEIGH – Opponents of the proposed voter identification legislation spoke out at the General Assembly on Wednesday. They say it could unfairly prevent people from voting. Supporters say it will stop voter fraud.
The Legislative Building in Raleigh was packed with concerned citizens on Wednesday. Students, seniors, and others who are concerned the “Voter ID” bill will cause problems.
This bill has not even been filed yet, but is on the Republican's “100 Day Plan” of things accomplish with their new majority.
Some say they should be concentrating on other areas.
“Why is this a top priority when there are 222,342 plus UNC System students are sitting on the edge of their seats,” says N.C. A&T student Mitchell Brown, “waiting to see if their tuition is going to rise. Waiting to see if their favorite professor is going to be fired.”
The idea is that you would need to show a government issued photo identification whenever you vote. State Board of Elections executive director Gary Bartlett says that could be a problem for a big chunk of the state's registered voters.
“There's over 500,000 who have no link to DMV at all,” says Bartlett. “Then there's an additional 334,000 who has a licensed that is revoked or suspended or is no longer any good. And then we have then we have direct matches for the rest.”
But according to a recent poll by the conservative Civitas Institute, this idea is getting a lot of support in North Carolina. When they asked participants if someone should show a government issued id before they vote, 83 percent of the respondents said replied favorably.
But opponents of this proposal say it would be a step backwards for the state.
“If one person is disenfranchised, we will have eroded part of our democracy,” says North Carolina Democratic Party Chair David Parker. “And Republicans may be in the majority right now, but the more mistakes they make this on their own motion, the higher the likelihood this will just be a hiccup in North Carolina history.”
Supporters of this legislation argue it could help to reduce voter fraud. It is expected this legislation will be filed soon at the General Assembly.