Republican state lawmakers have said they intend to push for some form of voter identification legislation when the N.C. General Assembly reconvenes this week.
They seem to be pushing for legislation for a matter that has yet to be proven a major issue.
Voter fraud is so rare and infrequent that it is hard to understand the rush to push through a voter ID bill, especially when the state has many other more pressing issues – like an unemployment rate of more than 9 percent.
An analysis from the N.C. State Board of Elections found that as many as 612,955 registered voters may not have a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card. That is approximately 9.25 percent of the state’s voters, according to the report.
With that in mind, we hope lawmakers will carefully consider the effects that any proposed changes might have on voters, especially those with low incomes and limited access to transportation.
If this is a road Republicans feel they must go down, we hope state lawmakers will at least include provisions to give people options and enough time to adjust to the changes.
Moreover, if having an identification card for voting is so important to state lawmakers, the state should be willing to pick up the tab. That, at least, should be considered out of fairness to people with low incomes.
Giving people until the next presidential election would allow them time to prepare for any changes.
The right to vote is an important part of our democracy. We would hate to see any changes that would limit that right for certain people.