Raleigh, N.C. – The office of NC President Pro Tempore Senate Phil Berger (R) is pushing a bipartisan voter ID bill that was introduced in the state senate Tuesday (Nov. 27). The bill “…would secure elections, while allowing a broad range of photo IDs and making it simple, easy, and free to obtain a photo ID. This bill is the implementing legislation for the voter ID constitutional amendment that was passed with wide support from North Carolina voters on Election Day.”
According to the release sent by Berger’s office the bill, Senate Bill 824, “…introduced by Sens. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth), Joel Ford (D-Mecklenberg) and Warren Daniel (R- Burke), would create a new “voter photo ID,” which would be a voter registration card with the voter’s photo on it that can be obtained for free at their local county board of elections.”
According to the release the following would be acceptable forms of voter ID under the bill:
· NC driver’s license or non-operator ID card
· US passport
· Tribal enrollment card of federally or state recognized tribe
· Military or veterans ID card
· Student ID Cards from state universities, private universities and community colleges
· Employee ID cards issued by a state or local government entity
· Valid out of state license or non-driver ID if the voter registers within 90 days of the election
“The bill would allow any of the acceptable forms of ID to be used as long as they are currently valid or expired for a year or less. Individuals over the age of 65 would be allowed to use an expired ID if they had any of the accepted forms of ID that were unexpired on their 65th birthday,” the release said.
And what about those unable to get a photo ID? “For anyone unable to get a photo ID due to a ‘reasonable impediment,”the bill would allow voters to sign an affidavit and still cast a ballot. There would also be exceptions for religious purposes as well as anyone who was affected by a natural disaster within 60 days of the election. In instances where a person has his or her driver’s license suspended or revoked, the DMV would be required to send a special ID card automatically under the bill,” said the press release.
Sens. Krawiec and Daniel issued a joint statement on the legislation:
“On Election Day, voters made their desire for voter ID very apparent. Our goal with this legislation is to follow through on that clear mandate to secure our elections process, while also making sure that the ID requirement is not an impediment to those who are legally eligible to vote.”
Sen. Ford plans to propose an amendment to the bill on the Senate floor that would allow voters to obtain the “photo voter ID” at their county board of elections during the early voting period, provided they have the required documentation.
“My goal with this legislation is to ensure that any legally registered voter who shows up to vote must be allowed to vote, that includes one stop voting,” said Sen. Ford. “Even if they show up to vote without an ID, one will be provided for free. People must know that they can vote if they have lost or never had valid photo ID.”
The bill is largely modeled on the South Carolina voter ID law which was upheld by a panel of federal judges, but would allow even more forms of ID than the South Carolina law including tribal IDs, student IDs, and certain expired IDs.
After a Monday meeting of the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee where legislators listened to feedback on the initial draft of the legislation, student IDs from community colleges and private universities as well as state or local government employee IDs were added to the bill as acceptable forms of voter ID.