Political notebook: Republicans react judge’s voter ID ruling

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 31, 2019

By Liz Moomey

SALISBURY — North Carolina Republicans responded to Friday’s announcement that U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs will block a requirement that voters have an ID by saying she was “legislating from the bench.”

The requirement was to begin with the March 3 primary and North Carolina voters approved an amendment during the 2018 general elections to require an identification to vote. It passed with 55% of the vote.

“Unfortunately, this preliminary injunction is yet another example of judges legislating from the bench,” said North Carolina Republican Party Communications Director Jeff Hauser. “This action, if it is allowed to stand, will invalidate the votes of millions of North Carolinians who voted overwhelmingly to implement voter ID and strengthen the integrity of N.C. elections. The NCGOP calls on the Attorney General to appeal this decision and defend the voters of North Carolina.”

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said the “last-minute attempt” by an “activist federal judge to overturn the will of North Carolina voters” must be immediately appealed by the Board of Elections. Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger released a joint statement Monday urging the state Department of Justice to seek a stay.

“To issue an injunction against one of the nation’s most lenient voter ID laws — which 34 states already have — without providing an opinion is an outrageous affront to due process, the rights of North Carolina voters, and the rule of law,” Moore said in a statement.

Attorneys representing the General Assembly lawmakers told the DOJ officials that a stay would “avoid irreparable harm to the state” since a resolution would be needed by Jan. 13 when absentee ballots are available.

Rowan County Elections Director Brenda McCubbins said the State Board of Elections will be providing guidance once the court issues the order. Voters in Rowan County have already received mailers advising them what forms of voter ID are acceptable.

And the state had approved various forms of acceptable photo IDs, which included driver license, U.S. passport, a new North Carolina Voter ID card, approved employee or student ID, tribal enrollment card and military ID card or veterans ID card.

If there is a change in the voter ID Law, it will change the county board of elections preparation for the March 2020 primary. McCubbins said voter ID would be a “big part” of the election process, some of which involves training precinct officials, absentee by mail and one stop voting and election day.

The Rowan County Board of Elections has not heard any word of when the decision would be finalized or what the next steps would be.

Change in party affiliation must be by Feb. 7

The Rowan County Board of Elections says it wants to warn voters they cannot change their political party affiliation at the polls.

In the primary election, voters can only cast their party’s ballot. The exception is unaffiliated voters, who can choose a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian ballot. The Green and Constitution parties have closed primaries and do not allow unaffiliated to vote their ballots.

The deadline for voter changes or new registrations is Feb. 7.

To change party affiliation, fill out a voter registration form online or call the office at 704-216-8140 to request one to be mailed. A form can also be filled out at the elections office, 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. W Suite 10.