You Want to Vote? Let's See Your ID
Have Boards of Elections across North Carolina suddenly been besieged with complaints about sneaky voters casting ballots under fictitious names?
The answer, as far as we’re aware, is no. Moore County Elections Director Glenda Clendenin knows of only one such attempt (unsuccessful) here in recent years. All indications are that voter fraud, if it ever existed on any significant scale, is even less of an issue now than it might have been in years past.
So why, with all the major problems facing the state, is the N.C. General Assembly now giving such urgent priority to passing, within the first 100 days of next year’s session, a piece of legislation requiring all would-be voters to flash a photo ID before they can proceed to exercise that most cherished of democratic rights?
The answer, apparently, is simply that Republicans gained control of the legislature in last fall’s election, and voter IDs are a pet GOP ideological project nationwide. (Only a relative few other states require them.)
The party has only itself to blame if this action is interpreted — fairly or not — as a slap in the face by those among us who are least likely to have photo IDs: poor people and minorities. It is strictly a coincidence, we’re sure, that those segments of the population also just happen to be the ones most likely to vote Democratic.
We live in the South, a region with a past history of poll taxes, “grandfather clauses,” literacy tests and other efforts to discourage black voting. Those critics who would lump voter ID requirements in with those atrocities are overstating their case. Still, given the partisan realities involved, the motivation of the whole thing is up to question.
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