The VOTER ID saga: House goes wobbly while Senate doubles down





I don’t understand.  North Carolinians OVERWHELMINGLY approve of requiring photo ID in order to cast a vote in the state’s elections.  Yet, the “conservative revolution” — at least that part in the state House AND governor’s office — is running scared from William Barber’s PR onslaught:

House Republicans unveiled their long-awaited voter ID bill Thursday, offering a less restrictive version than the measure that was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Bev. Perdue two years ago.

The measure would require all voters to show a government-issued photograph at the polls starting with the 2016 elections, in what supporters said was an effort to restore voter confidence in the electoral system.

House Speaker Thom Tillis of Matthews couched the bill as a compromise that would not fully satisfy partisans on either side of the debate. Tillis said the bill stuck with the “core principles” of those who want a voter ID.

“It’s very different than the bill we tried to pass last year,” Tillis said at a news conference attended by a number of other GOP lawmakers. “It has tried to take into account a number of the concerns that were raised. It is a bill we are very confident will withstand any challenge that may come to us by way of the courts.” […]

Under the measure, a person who does not have a photo ID could still cast a provisional ballot. But they would be required to return at a later time – before the county board canvasses the votes – to show an ID for the vote to be counted.

Voters who do not have driver’s licenses could get a voter non-operator ID from the Division of Motor Vehicles at an estimated cost of $10 per person.

But the state, under the measure, would cover costs if the person signed a document declaring that paying the cost would “present a financial hardship.’’ In such cases, the state registrar would also be required to provide free birth certificates or marriage licenses to persons who needed them to help get a photo ID.

Estimates have ranged wildly on just how many North Carolina residents lack driver’s licenses, with some studies putting the number at several hundred thousand voters.

[…]The bill would allow student IDs issued by public schools, such as NC State University and community colleges, but not for private schools such as Meredith College.

In this age of distance learning, satellite campuses,  and online education, college IDs do not prove that you live within the same jurisdiction that includes the college campus.   In fact, I lived in one county and took courses at a college in another county.  I had to get a college ID — which DID not offer up any info about my official address.  MORE:

For seniors, if they have a valid ID at age 70, that same ID will always be valid no matter how old they get, under the bill.

There is also an exemption for a person who meets the federal definition of disabled. That disabled person would not need to get a photo ID.

The measure would also tighten the restrictions on absentee ballots, in which no photo ID would be required. An official form will be developed that will require a person to provide a driver’s license, the number of a DMV non-operator’s photo ID or Social Security number to obtain the absentee ballot.

No photo ID for absentee ballots  ???? And WHY are we waiting until 2016?  Will it really take THREE years for someone to obtain a photo ID?

How on Earth do you go through life without ANY concrete proof of your identity or current address? 
Republicans in the Senate have introduced an interesting piece of legislation that addresses the question of college kids voting in the jurisdiction where their campus is located.  The legislation says students MUST register to vote at their permanent residence (a/k/a Mom and Dad’s house) if they are being claimed on their parents’ tax returns as dependents.   Of course, this has the lefties sputtering.  Racist. Fascist.  Blah, Blah, Blah ..
In 2012, college students in Asheville provided the margin of victory in a Buncombe County commissioner race.   Seriously.  Does a kid — who goes to college in North Carolina, lives on campus,  maintains a New Jersey driver license, and counts on Mom and Dad in New Jersey to pay his or her bills — truly have a right to vote here in North Carolina?    Does a kid from Wilmington — who counts on his mom and dad in Wilmington to pay his bills — have the  right to vote in Charlotte while he lives on campus and attends UNC-C?
This legislation makes SO MUCH sense.  It’s not preventing people from voting.  It’s ensuring that people actually vote in the communities where they and their families maintain a residence and have an investment.  It needs to sail through both chambers and be signed.