North Carolina Republicans aren’t giving up on voter ID — and now they think a constitutional amendment might be the easiest way to impose it.
GOP lawmakers are drafting a bill that would add an ID requirement to the state Constitution, and would go into effect if approved by voters, WUNC reports.
“We are a hundred percent committed to the idea of voter ID and we are still working out the logistics of what we believe to be the most sure-fired (sic) way to get voter ID implemented that will withstand the inevitable challenges that will come from the left,” said state Rep. David Lewis (pictured). “We believe the public support for voter ID is sufficient, that clarifying it in the North Carolina Constitution as a requirement is something the people would support.”
A sweeping 2013 voting law passed by Republicans, probably the nation’s most restrictive, included an ID provision, cuts to early voting, the elimination of same-day voter registration, and more. It was struck down by a federal court last year, which ruled that the law “targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” But some ID laws in other states have withstood legal challenges.
Having voters approve any new law as a constitutional amendment wouldn’t stop it from being challenged under the Voting Rights Act, which bars racial discrimination in voting, just as the 2013 law was challenged, successfully. But the seal of approval from voters could make courts more hesitant to overturn the measure.
As Republicans know, it’s more likely than not that voters would approve an ID law if given the chance. Polls suggest voter ID is popular, in part thanks to a sustained campaign by supporters of such laws to convince people that voter fraud is a serious problem. Missouri voters last year approved an ID measure by 63-37 percent.
Republicans hold legislative super-majorities that would allow them to over-ride an expected veto of the measure by Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat. They won those super-majorities after drawing a state legislative map that a federal court has found to be a racial gerrymander.