Rep. Ruth Samuelson: All will be able to vote

April 9, 2013 

All will be able to vote

In these days of deep political division, there aren’t too many issues on which more than 75 percent of the electorate agrees. Requiring voters to show photo identification at the polling place is one of them.

A voter ID bill filed by me and three of my House colleagues supports the will of the vast majority of North Carolina residents, who want to have more confidence in the fairness and integrity of our elections. At the same time, it addresses the reasonable concerns of the 25 percent who oppose a voter ID requirement.

Under the bill, a wide variety of photo IDs would be accepted, including those up to 10 years past their expiration date. A senior with a valid ID card at age 70 would be able to use that ID card indefinitely, regardless of expiration date. The bill exempts disabled people from the ID requirements, and it provides a means for those who can’t afford a photo ID to get one free.

Voters who go to the polls on Election Day without an ID would cast provisional ballots. They’d then have to return to their local elections board office and show proof of their identity to have their provisional ballot counted.

Under the terms of the bill, the ID requirement would not take full effect until January 2016, but efforts to get the word out about it will begin immediately. The State Board of Elections would appoint up to five people to serve on a nonpartisan Voter Information Verification Advisory board. The VIVA board would be supported by up to 14 new state elections board employees whose jobs through Dec. 31, 2016, would be to identify voters without a proper ID and help them get one.

Today, we’ll hold another public hearing on the bill at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh.

State Rep. Ruth Samuelson

Charlotte

The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 104. The length limit was waived to allow a full description of the bill.

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