Word on Jones Street is that some North Carolina lawmakers are close to introducing a bill that would require voters to show state-issued photo identification when going to the polls.
Currently, voters must provide identification when registering to vote. However, identification beyond just a photo ID is acceptable, such as a bank statement or utility bill.
While opinion polls have found a photo ID requirement generally popular, a recent report from the State Board of Elections finds that some 700,000 registered North Carolina voters don’t have either a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID card.
Supporters of a photo ID requirement say it is necessary to protect against potential fraud and to build confidence in the integrity of the election system. They note that photo IDs are required in many facets of life, from driving a car to cashing a check or boarding an airplane.
Opponents of a photo-ID-only requirement say it is a solution in search of a problem, in that in-person voter fraud is exceedingly rare in North Carolina and that mail-in absentee voter fraud would be a bigger concern, but unaffected by any photo ID requirement.
These opponents of the plan also note that according to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the state would be required to use tax dollars to provide IDs free of charge to voters who can’t afford them. They say such a move could cost the state millions of dollars at a time of fiscal crisis in North Carolina.
In the video above, lawmakers and students from several North Carolina universities made their case last week against a photo ID requirement.
We’ll follow the story as it develops.