A coalition of groups on Wednesday renewed their call for the General Assembly to abandon any attempts at requiring voters have a photo ID or other additional documentation. They vowed to fight any such legislation through the upcoming session and into the courts, if necessary.
The coalition will provide a public service announcement to major media markets in the state, beginning this weekend, and it has set up a website: ProtectOurVoteNC.com.
The groups include the state chapter of the NAACP, the ACLU of North Carolina, Democracy North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
The campaign, announced in a news conference at the statehouse, increases pressure on Republicans legislators to back off their promise to pass a voter ID bill this session. But it also comes as some GOP leaders expressed a willingness to reconsider the requirement for a photo, following an analysis by the state Board of Elections that 600,000 active and inactive registered voters don’t have a driver license or other state photo identification.
Bob Hall, research director of Democracy North Carolina, said the number of active voters without photo ID could be considerably less than that, once the list is trimmed of name variations and other errors. It might be anywhere from100,000 to 300,000, he said, but added that is still a lot of potentially disenfranchised voters.
There is more of a problem with fraudulent mail-in absentee ballots, Hall said, and it’s disturbing that the GOP is not going after those voters – who tend to be Republican – instead of those without photo ID. Black, female and elderly voters would be especially hard hit, data Hall released indicates.
“This is really about manipulating the political process for a partisan advantage and is despicable,” Hall said. “They’re just waving up all this smoke and emotion about Mexicans in buses coming to vote illegally. And dead people. It’s just like fantasyland.”
Jordan Shaw, spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis, said afterward that whatever photo ID bill emerges, lawmakers will strive to make sure it is one that would hold up in court and address the concerns raised by the coalition. He noted that polling shows there is strong support in North Carolina for such a law