Published: May 15, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: May 12, 2012 10:30 PM
PITTSBORO - By a 3-2 vote, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution supporting state legislation requiring voter identification at the polls to ensure that election results are fundamentally fair and every genuine vote is counted.
We made sure that the resolution clearly states that any voter identification requirements should be fair, reasonable and readily accessible to all voters, commissioners Chairman Brian Bock said. This is an important step in our view to retain public confidence in election results.
The May 7 resolution noted that surrounding states have mandatory voter identification at the polls. Several online databases show that as of March 31, 2012, nine states require voter identification with photos, 16 states require non-voter identification and seven states allow poll workers to request identification, according to a county news release. Some have not yet taken effect or are under review.
In March the Wake County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 along party lines to endorse photo identification at the polls.
The resolution supports House Bill 351, a Republican-backed measure that was vetoed by Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.
Researchers have said the voter ID bill would affect more than 500,000 North Carolina voters without drivers licenses. Voters could get free picture IDs at their local elections board, though critics say that puts an unfair burden on older and low-income people, who may not drive and who have no other reason to possess photo identification.
The nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties opposes photo ID legislation.
North Carolina has adequate safeguards in place that prevent fraud, the league position states.
There is no evidence that voting by non-citizens is occurring in significant numbers. Since these activities are illegal in every state for federal elections, reports of prosecution and convictions would abound if significant numbers of people were, in fact, voting illegally. The evidence establishes that current anti-fraud laws work. ... Indeed, Americans are twice as likely to get hit by lighting as to have their vote cancelled out by a fraudulently cast vote.
The Institute for Southern Studies has reported that N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis does not anticipate bringing up voter ID in the General Assemblys next session, which begins next week.
Tillis further suggested that if there were a vote, it would be on a compromise bill that would allow voters to bring other forms of non-photo ID to the polls, the institute reported on its website.
But were going to have a very short session, so its going to be extraordinarily difficult to take up any truly controversial bills, the speaker said, according to the institute. Were going to be out of here by fourth of July, so that more or less limits the scope of what we could take up." Staff writers Mark Schultz and Matt Garfield contributed to this article.
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