On Wednesday, the North Carolina Republican House followed the Senate in sending a major rebuke to Democrat Governor Roy Cooper by making voter photo identification law.
In November voters of the state approved a constitutional amendment requiring identification to vote beginning next year.
By vetoing the Republican bill, the Democrat governor was attempting to stall debate on the matter until next year when Republicans will no longer hold a veto-proof majority and the bill would likely be watered down.
Republicans blasted the governor for his comments about the bill when he said the “fundamental flaw in the bill is its sinister and cynical origins” suggesting that a bill requiring voters to identify themselves in order to vote “was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters.”
Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, chairman of the House Committee on Elections and Ethics Law, said before the vote,
My district is full of good, hard-working, well-intentioned people – there is nothing sinister or cynical about them. The governor does not have a problem with this legislature, he has a problem with his citizens. This bill does exactly what the people of this state wanted us to do.”
The debate in the House was heated as Republicans, like Lewis, went after the governor and the Democrats, using a well-worn playbook, gave a recitation of the state’s historical role involving slavery and racism, reports the Raleigh News & Observer.
Immediately following the House vote to override, and presumably hoping to be as successful as they were with a legal challenge during the Obama administration which killed a 2013 voter identification measure, those wishing to continue to allow voters to cast a ballot without identification began filing lawsuits.
“Minutes after the House vote, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice announced a lawsuit challenging the voter ID law had been filed in Wake County Superior Court,” says The News & Observer.
With voting rights a key part of their mission, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice describes itself as a nonprofit organization, formed in 2007, and headquartered in Durham to promote “social justice,”
Founded by a multidisciplinary group, predominantly people of color, who believe that families and communities engaged in social justice struggles need a team of lawyers, social scientists, community organizers and media specialists to support them in their efforts to dismantle structural racism and oppression.
Claiming the bill targets African Americans, a spokesman for the NC NAACP said they too will file a lawsuit this week.
Up until now, North Carolina was the only southern state without any requirement for voter ID.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 15 states remaining with no voter identification law, most are Democrat strongholds, 4 are swing states and only two are considered reliably red.
Democrat-controlled states with no voter ID requirement include: Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and California.
Two states that are considered red states with no voter ID law are Nebraska and Wyoming.
And four battleground states with no requirement for proof of identity to cast a ballot are Maine, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Nevada.
Complicating matters is the fact that even in states where requirements for identification to vote are in place, in twelve states, one of those important forms that is generally used for identification—a driver’s license—is permitted to be obtained by illegal aliens.
So there are no assurances in those states, even with a Voter ID law, that an election is fair.
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Anna Marie Bolton is a reporter for Battleground State News.
Photo “David Lewis” by North Carolina General Assembly.