Bill Filed To Put Voter Photo ID Amendment In NC Constitution

CHARLOTTE, NC.– Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are trying again to force voters to show ID’s before they can cast ballots. A district court has already said a voter ID law is unconstitutional.

A new bill would get around that by asking voters to approve an amendment to the state constitution in November. House Speaker Tim Moore, from Kings Mountain, filed the bill Thursday.

North Carolina is one of 18 states that doesn’t require any form of voter ID at the polls. Some groups think we should keep it that way. Saying if the amendment is added, it would be more difficult for minorities, students and the elderly to vote.

House Bill 1095 would let voters decide if this paragraph is added to the state constitution: “Photo identification for voting in person. Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”

Under the bill, the legislature would be able to define what forms of photo ID are acceptable. That’s why the American Civil Liberties Union is worried. Attorney Emily Seawell says she fears student ID’s, Medicaid ID’s or government assistance ID’s may be left out.

“This is where we get into problems with voters who are poor and voters of color, who are older or students, who move around a lot,” says Seawell.

The General Assembly passed a strict voter ID law in 2013, but federal judges struck it down, saying it was unconstitutional and targeted African Americans by requiring a photo ID that mostly whites have. North Carolina Representative Tim Moore is one of the sponsors of HB 1095: “This commonsense measure to secure the integrity of our elections system is supported by the vast majority of North Carolinians who know protecting our democracy should be one of lawmakers’ highest priorities,”  House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).

The North Carolina NAACP says: “It was wrong in 2013, and it’s still wrong in 2018. There is no version of a photo ID law that won’t leave voters behind. We must end once and for all this period in North Carolina of ‘suppression sessions.”

A group called Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, also announced Thursday that they are calling on Apple and Amazon to reconsider placing their new headquarters in North Carolina if the bill is passed.

“It is irresponsible and negligent for Apple and Amazon to even consider North Carolina as the site for their new headquarters if this law moves forward,” said Brandi Collins-Dexter, Senior Campaign Director for Media, Democracy & Economic Justice at Color Of Change. “That’s why we are mounting a public education campaign through targeted media ads where they are headquartered to put them on notice.  Tech corporations cannot pay lip service to inclusivity but turn a blind eye when communities of color are under attack. Apple and Amazon have a duty to ensure that Black voters be given an equal voice in North Carolina’s democracy.”

The group, along with Raleigh native and musician William Matthews, launched the new campaign, which is called “Reject Racism.”