One of the first issues sure to come up in this year’s legislative session beginning on Jan. 30 is voter identification. This is an issue Republicans in the General Assembly hoped to pass last session, but were stymied by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto and the inability of the House to override it. What the bill eventually looks like, though, is apparently still up in the air.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), held a press conference Wednesday in which he laid out his position on the issue. From Berger’s perspective, any ID legislation must include a government-issued photo ID, though not necessarily a driver’s license, and it must meet constitutional standards. Berger’s position is essentially what was proposed in the last session.
However, Berger’s statement at yesterday’s press conference differed somewhat from recent comments by House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and Gov. Pat McCrory. Both Tillis and McCrory have recently said they would be open to accepting alternate forms of identification at the polling place, such as voter registration cards or other government documents, instead of a strict photo-ID-only requirement.
Again, it’s unclear what any voter ID legislation will ultimately look like, and this could be an interesting case of political “good cop, bad cop” from the three Republican leaders. Either way, there continues to be a lot of concern about requiring a photo ID in order to vote and its potential impact on North Carolina voters.