Perdue vetoes voter ID bill
RALEIGH (AP) ó Republican lawmakers failed Tuesday to override a veto by Gov. Beverly Perdue that would have required voters to show photo identification before casting an in-person ballot.
The North Carolina House voted on party lines 67-52 in favor of the override, five votes short of whatís needed to move it to the Senate. Republicans successfully performed a parliamentary maneuver, however, that keeps the voter ID issue alive.
Republicans argued the photo ID mandate would discourage voter fraud and build the publicís confidence in voting. Democrats said the requirement is unnecessary because reports of fraud are few and that it would only lead to voter suppression, particularly older people, minorities and women.
The override question spurred passionate debate for more than an hour about voting in an era in which citizens show identification to enter government buildings or get on an airplane but only a half-century since blacks in the Jim Crow-era South were discouraged from voting because of the color of their skin.
ěThis bill is an insult to me. Itís an insult to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King,î said first-term Rep. Rodney Moore, R-Mecklenburg. ěRight now, I feel like my rights have been raped. Yes I do because there is no substantive problem in North Carolina with voter fraud and this is purely, purely an attempt at voter suppression.î
Perdue vetoed the measure last month.
ěI want to thank the legislators who stood firm in the belief that every North Carolinian has the constitutional right to vote and that the state should not be creating obstacles to stop them,î Perdue said in a prepared statement after the vote.
GOP legislative leaders contend polls show strong support for voter ID and that Perdue vetoed the measure to please her base of Democratic supporters. Several Republican House members have said voter identification is one of the most important issues to their constituents.
ěHow can you possibly vote against a requirement where in one instance you have to show a photo ID (in Winston-Salem) to panhandle but not show a photo ID to do the most important and sacred thing that we do as citizens?î said House Speaker Pro Tempore Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth.
Democrats argue the bill was purely partisan. Others have suggested ID requirements would make it harder for President Obama to win North Carolinaís electoral votes next year after winning them for Democrats in 2008 for the first time in 32 years.
Voter fraud is already a felony in North Carolina. The State Board of Elections referred 43 cases of potential fraud to district attorneys in 2008 and 21 in 2010. Meanwhile, about 147,100 active black voters do not have photo ID, according to the election reform group Democracy North Carolina. The bill didnít even consider potential fraud problems with obtaining absentee ballots, said House Minority Leader Joe Hackney, D-Orange.
ěEveryone is interested in the integrity of the elections and it does appear that commonsense says that people should show an ID,î said Bob Hall, Democracy North Carolinaís executive director. ěBut when you look at the data there are more people that are hurt by that requirement than would be helped.î
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