Act honestly. Enact Voter ID laws that don't hurt access to the polls

Published December 22, 2022

By Capitol Broadcasting Company

It is time for North Carolina’s legislative leaders to stop lying about North Carolina’s Supreme Court just because the high court expect legislators to obey the law and behave in ways that comport with their constitutional duties.

Republican state Senate leader Phil Berger of Rockingham County complains that some justices “can’t respect the will of the voters.” House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican from Cleveland County, said the high court had “defied the will of the voters and rejected voter ID.”

Both statements are lies. Berger and Moore – who are themselves lawyers by profession – know it. They need to stop lying about the court and start acting honestly to pass laws that don’t discriminate and will meet constitutional muster – which is their job.

Please note. We have and continue to support reasonable, non-discriminatory requirements for voters to present photo ID when they cast ballots.

One truth -- that applies to Berger, Moore and their followers in the General Assembly -- is that they are motivated by racial discrimination to enact laws that make it more difficult for Black voters to cast ballots. It is a fact that has been repeatedly proven in state and federal courts over the last decade.

Still, Berger and Moore maliciously and falsely said that the state Supreme Court, in its ruling last week striking down the discriminatory law they pushed through the General Assembly in a rushed 2018 lame-duck legislative session, opposed the State Constitutional Amendment that requires voters present photo identification when they cast ballots.

Fact: North Carolina voters, in Nov. 2018, approved a state constitutional amendment requiring photo ID – with nearly 56% of the 3.8 million voters supporting it.

Fact: The North Carolina state Supreme Court has not challenged the legality of requiring voter ID or the need to enact legitimate laws to implement and enforce voter ID. It has raised the very important matter of whether the legislature, when it placed constitutional amendments on the ballot, was not so significantly gerrymandered as to make its actions invalid. The question isn't the will of the people, it is the legitimacy of the legislature to place the matter before the voters.
Fact: During a lame-duck General Assembly session in late November and early December -- over the course of a mere five legislative work days – a rushed bill (S 824) to implement voter ID was introduced and passed. Several organizations voiced concerns over the bill’s limited listing of acceptable forms of ID.
Fact: On Dec. 14, 2018 Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the legislation. The proposed law puts up barriers to voting that will trap honest voters in confusion and discourage them with new rules, some of which haven't even been written yet. Finally, the fundamental flaw in the bill is its sinister and cynical origins: It was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters.”

The fortunate reality is that incidences of people seeking to impersonate others to vote is practically unheard of – a “problem in search of a solution” is how Cooper described it. North Carolina voters are an honest bunch. A 2016 audit by the State Board of Elections found ONE case of it among 4.8 million votes cast – that’s 0.00002%.

The next working day, the General Assembly with only a few days remaining on its veto-proof majority – overrode the governor’s veto to enact their unconstitutional law. A law that, when challenged at every level of the judicial process, has been found lacking.

The truth. It is Berger, Moore and their fellow legislators who are acting in conflict with the Constitution. That won’t change when a new Republican majority on a state Supreme Court – including Berger’s namesake son – take their seats.

There’s a very simple solution. Act honestly. Stop looking to discriminate against some voters because of their race, age, economic status, disability or neighborhood.

Enact a common-sense law that allows for a variety of forms of photo identification that help people vote honestly, not hinder their access to the polls.