North Carolina GOP Legislature Sends Voter ID Law To Democratic Governor

Andrew Krech/News & Record

The North Carolina Senate gave final passage to a new voter ID requirement Thursday morning, implementing a constitutional amendment voters approved last month. The legislation, passed by the House Wednesday, is now heading to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper (D), whose potential veto Republicans can override with their supermajority in both chambers.

North Carolina’s previous voter ID law, passed in 2013 after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, was struck down by the courts as part of a package of voter restrictions that a federal appeals court said in 2016 was passed with the intent to discriminate against minority voters.

The new bill is largely similar, but includes a few more accommodations that the old version did not have. It offers more options for acceptable IDs — including college IDs — that the 2013 version of the requirement did not allow.

The legislature passed the bill as an election fraud investigation is under way into a absentee ballot scheme in a U.S. congressional race in the state. Voter ID is designed to prevent in-person voter fraud, which is extremely rare.

In response to the absentee ballot investigation, the North Carolina House added a new provision directing that the state board of elections design a way for absentee voters to also provide their photo ID. The state senate passed that version Thursday morning in a 25-7 vote.

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