Tonight the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association held a public meeting in the Stanly Hall Ballroom in New Bern to discuss the voter law recently passed in North Carolina. The speakers were Susan Myric of Civitas, Meloni Wray, Director of Craven County Elections, and Gary Clemmons, Chairman of the Craven County Board of Elections.
H.B. 589, the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA), aka the Voter Identification Bill, is the first comprehensive change to North Carolina election law in decades. H.B. 589 passed the North Carolina House of Representatives in April of 2013. In July the North Carolina Senate amended H.B. 589 and passed it. The bill then went back to the House of Representatives. The bill was ratified on July 26, and the Governor signed it on August 12. The ACLU, NAACP, and various other organizations promptly filed lawsuits against the bill, with Eric Holder later filing a suit against the State of North Carolina.
The lawsuits filed are objecting to the change in early voting–from 17 days to 10 days, the end of same day voter registration, and the end of out-of-precinct voting. There will be a hearing on September 25 in Charlotte regarding the change in the voting law.
Under the new law, voters must register to vote by October 10, 2014. This gives the Board of Elections the opportunity to verify the address of the voter. Under the new law, voters will be required to vote at their correct precinct based on their address as of 30 days prior to Election Day. In 2016, voters will be required to show an acceptable photo ID. In 2014 all voters will be asked if he or she has one of the acceptable ID’s for the purpose of voting. A list of acceptable photo ID will be provided for review at the polling location. Instructions will be given to voters without acceptable ID on how to obtain a no-fee photo ID from the NCDMV.
The request for photo ID when voting is not unreasonable. We live in a society where photo ID is required for many activities–purchasing cigarettes or liquor, to board an airplane, to cash a check, to receive government benefits, etc. It also makes sense to have voters register to vote in time for their addresses to be verified.
Hopefully, the Court will uphold this law, as it ensures that every vote counts by attempting to eliminate voter fraud.