The state House of Representatives enacted voter ID into North Carolina law on Wednesday, implementing a ballot referendum approved by voters in November with the legislature’s twenty-first veto override of Governor Roy Cooper.
The veto override by the state House is the General Assembly’s final legislative action enacting voter ID into North Carolina law. It follows approval by the people of a proposed constitutional amendment to require photo ID at the polls in the November midterm election.
Governor Roy Cooper nonetheless rejected Senate Bill 824 [Implementation of Voter ID Const. Amendment] and called voter ID supporters “cynical” and “sinister” in a late-Friday afternoon veto message.
Though Gov. Cooper’s veto message said the voter ID bill “fails to fix” absentee ballot fraud, in-fact the legislation directly addresses ballot harvesting with an amendment to require voter ID for mail-in ballots that was proposed by a House Democrat and approved by a vote of 106-1.
Gov. Cooper’s veto message also said SB824 was “designed to suppress the rights” of voters, even though the bill allows any voter to assert a “reasonable impediment” at the polls for why they don’t have a qualifying ID.
The legislation further accommodates religious objectors, provides for free state-issued IDs, and accepts a broad range of qualifying IDs including student IDs, drivers’ licenses, passports, military and veteran IDs, voter and state employee cards, and Native American tribal cards. SB824 even allows drivers’ licenses from other states to qualify in some circumstances.
Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) has filed legislation proposing voter ID in North Carolina in every legislative term since first taking office in 2002.
“Delivering a voter ID law to North Carolinians who supported this simple yet essential election integrity measure on the ballot in November was a constitutional imperative,” Moore said.
“I’m proud of the commitment House lawmakers made to finish this accomplishment and keep our promise to the people of North Carolina who approved voter ID in our state constitution.”
Thirty-four other states have some form of voter ID law. North Carolina is the last state in the Southeast not to require some form of voter ID.
Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), a chairman of the House Committee on Elections and Ethics Law, noted Gov. Cooper’s voter ID veto was issued at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday “to bury his defiance in a news dump with inflammatory language to keep his political base on his side.”
“My district is full of good, hard-working, well-intentioned people – there is nothing sinister or cynical about them,” Lewis said. “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.”