Voters in November will get the chance to decide whether North Carolina will join 33 other states in the nation with some form of voter ID requirement at the polls following a final vote in the Senate Friday morning.
The proposed constitutional amendment will need the support of a majority of voters in the state to be codified in to the state constitution.
The amendment states that, “Voters offering to vote in person shall present photographic identification before voting. The General Assembly shall enact general laws governing the requirements of such photographic identification, which may include exceptions.
Though the measure passed by party line votes in both the House and the Senate a Civitas Institute poll from February showed that 69 percent of likely voters in the state supported voter ID at the polls.
An August 2017 Rasmussen poll showed 70 percent of U.S. voters support voter ID and a 2016 Gallup poll showed 80 percent of U.S. voters support voter ID.
“For years, the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians have voiced strong support for requiring photo ID at the polls,” Senate Leader Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said. “People know it’s just common sense. This amendment gives North Carolinians – not judges or politicians – the right to decide if photo ID should be part of our state’s constitution.”
The legislation passed in a 33-12 vote on third reading in the Senate and a 74-43 vote in the House.
Supporters of the measure say that it will improve voter integrity in the state to ensure fairer elections, while opponents say that the measure is aimed at reducing the vote on African Americans, college students and homosexual people.
Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth) spoke about the importance of protecting the integrity of our voting system because people have fought and died for the right to vote.
Krawiec said that voter ID is the first step in protecting voter rights.
Following the vote on the proposed voter ID amendment, and some pomp and circumstance, the Senate adjourned until November 27, after the general election, along with the House.
By coming back after the general election, lawmakers will be in a “lame-duck session” where legislators can make decisions without the threat of getting re-elected over their heads.