On Tuesday, Rep. Larry Hall introduced two bills to combat the disenfranchisement of voters that has occurred and will continue to occur under North Carolina’s 2013 omnibus elections bill.
The first bill, H239, restores early voting days that were cut. That provision was in effect for North Carolina’s 2014 midterm elections.
The second bill, H240, would allow college IDs to meet the voter ID requirement, a provision which goes into effect in 2016.
By design, the omnibus elections bill, now law, disenfranchises the young (by doing away with pre-registration at high schools before students turn 18, seeking to eliminate on-campus voting sites), as well as poorer voters who traditionally take advantage of early voting days and are less likely to have state-issued IDs.
Under the ID requirement, one of the most restrictive in the nation according to Durham research and advocacy group Democracy North Carolina, only four types of identification are acceptable for voters to present at the polls under the law: a DMV-issued ID, a US passport, a military or veteran ID or a tribal ID from a federal or state recognized tribe.
Most other states with a voter ID requirement allow students to use their student/campus ID. The North Carolina Board of Elections, after matching its list of registered voters with the DMV’s list of people with a NC driver’s license or ID card, found that 3 percent of registered voters (more than 200,00 people) did not have a state-issued photo ID. Nearly 45,000 of those registered voters were between the ages of 18 and 25.
Young voters make up only 12 percent of North Carolina’s entire electorate, but comprise around 20 percent of all voters who don’t have a valid ID.
“It just makes sense to accept a student photo ID issued by a NC accredited college, university or community college,” said Bob Hall, the executive director of Democracy North Carolina.