The proposed new voter photo ID law could cost as much as much as $3.6 million to implement – the price of providing free photos to those without driver's licenses, and voter education efforts, officials said.
The voter ID bill cleared another hurdle Thursday when it was approved by the House Finance Committee by an 18-10 party-line vote. It is scheduled for a full House vote next week.
The legislative staff prepared an analysis of how much it would likely cost to implement the law requiring voters to provide a photo ID by the 2016 election. It would also require a trial run for the 2014 election.
One of the biggest costs will be providing free photo Ids to persons who do not hold driver's licenses or other government-approved photos such as student Ids for state-supported campuses.
“We are trying to make it as easy as possible,” said Rep. Ruth Samuelson, philanthropic consultant and a Charlotte Republican who is one of the bill's chief sponsors.
The cost of a photo ID from the Division of Motor Vehicles and driver's and marriages licenses are unknown because the estimates to how many people don't have photo Ids has been so varied.
The State Board of Elections determined in March that there were 318,643 of the state's 6.4 million registered voters which not be marched with DMV computer records. Of those 171,736 did not vote in the last two elections.
In Georgia, a state about the same size as North Carolina, there were about 29,000 free voter ID bills distributed to voters who did not have their own photo Ids.
Other costs would involve setting up a staff to oversee implementing the law, and outreach efforts to make sure everyone understood the law including possible advertising.
Samuelson said she thought implementation of the voter ID law would actually cost $3.6 million, but a higher figure was being included to make sure that funds were available to cover all contingencies.
>p>The Democrats offered several amendments in committee on Thursday, most of which were defeated. Several Democrats also questioned why student Ids were accepted at public institutions, but not private institutions.
Democratic Rep. Paul Luebke, a college professor from Durham, said there was no reason why a Duke University ID was not as good as a student ID from N.C. Central University.
Which prompted Republican Rep. Jeff Collins, a financial consultant from Rocky Mount to quip, that the voter ID bill was “discriminating against rich caucasians from New Jersey.''