State Representative Tom Murry (R. N. Carolina), co-author of the restrictive Voter I.D. Law passed by the North Carolina legislature on July 25th, just 30 days after the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the historic Voting Rights Act, claimed the Voter I.D. Law is just “common sense”. On PBS News Hour, Mr. Murry used the word “common sense” several times to justifiy the voter I.D. law. The implementation of the new voter I.D. card program could cost $800,000.
However, State Representative G. K. Butterfield (D. North Carolina) described the new law as being “shameful”.
Rep. G. K. Butterfield:
“It’s very shameful that our legislature in North Carolina and the governor have decided to make these radical changes in the election laws. There is no need for a voter I.D. law in North Carolina. We have four million people who vote in every presidential election and less than a dozen reports of voter fraud.”
300, 000 North Carolina Voters Lack Government-Issued Photo ID Required by the New Voter I.D. Law
Rep. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) claimed he would fight to overturn the voter I.D. law due to its discriminatory impact on minority voters and its discriminatory intent. Mr. Butterfield said at least 300,000 people in North Carolina do not currently have government issued photo I.D. which would be required to vote under the new law. Even though Mr. Murry said he would help anyone get a “free” photo I.D., Mr. Butterfield said most of the 300,000 people without it would probably not go through the difficult process to get one and would most likely just not vote. This law disproportionately affects, minorities, elderly and students, the very voters who came out big in 2012 and who voted democratic.
The New Voter I.D. Law Eliminates Same-Day Voter Registration and Reduces Early Voting by Seven (7) Days
In addition, the new law would reduce the previous 17 days available for early voting to just 10 days. Rep. Butterfield said the 10 days were not enough in the recent elections that were troubled with long lines at the polls. Also, the new law eliminates Sunday early voting which is a day widely used by minorities to vote.
According to North Carolina voting statistics, 70% of minorities participated in early voting in the last election. Cutting days and hours would disproportionately affect minority voters, especially those that usually vote on Sundays.
Voter Fraud Rare or Non-Existent in North Carolina and in the U.S.
In the most recent election four million (4,000,000) North Carolina voters voted in the Presidential 2012 election. According to this Here & Now NPR report and interview with North Carolina Governor Mike McCrory there were only 2 cases of voter fraud in North Carolina in the last 10 years. Yet, the main excuse for the voter I.D. law by Governor McCrory and the supporters of this voter suppression law is to prevent so-called “voter fraud” which is basically nonexistent in the U.S. and North Carolina.
The North Carolina state chapter of the NAACP said the new voter I.D. law is a poll tax dressed up in new clothes.
Governor McCrory claims everyone should have a photo I.D. today, because you would need one if you go to the White House or fly on an airplane or need “services.” He also refers to 34 other states having some form of voter I.D. law.
Governor McCrory said to Here and Now reporter host Jeremy Hobson:
We’re requiring the same identification that you need to get almost any government services, including food stamps, including a tattoo in North Carolina, including Sudafed in North Carolina, you have to show a government-issued ID.
This is a circular argument that suits Governor McCrory. He fails to think about the 92 year old elderly minority voter whose driver’s license has expired and who has no way to get to a DMV 100 miles away to get a “free” government-issued photo I.D.
Governor McCrory says he will help people get their free government-issued I.D. by 2016 when the law goes into full effect, just in time for the 2016 Presidential Election. McCrory also never explains how difficult it is to actually get a government-issued photo I.D. What other documents does the resident need to prove they are eligible for a “free” government photo I.D. card? How will those people get off work to go to a DMV or other location that could be hours away from where they live? If they don’t drive, how can they even get to a DMV, especially if they live in a rural area with no public transportation? Governor McCrory tries to make it sound as if it is the most natural thing for everyone to have a photo I.D.
The fact is that many people do not have government issued photo I.D. cards because they are poor, or elderly or out of state students. However, Governor McCrory is far removed from understanding the real lives of these people.
North Carolina New Restrictive Voter I.D. Law Rejects Student College I.D.s
Instead of encouraging eligible U.S. students to vote, North Carolina politicians are putting new hurdles in front of students attending college in their state. College I.D.s are unacceptable under the restrictive North Carolina Voter I.D. Law.
Also, the new law does not accept out of state drivers licenses as proof of a government issued photo I.D.! That means that students who go to school in North Carolina have to get a different North Carolina photo I.D. because their out of state licenses are not accepted.