Bob Hall: No backup ID

April 19, 2013 

No backup ID a shame

A recent State Board of Elections analysis pinpointed who will be most harmed by a photo ID law. It said 318,643 out of 6.4 million voters don’t have an N.C. driver’s license or identity card. African-Americans are a disproportionate share – they’re 23 percent of all registered voters but 34 percent of those without an N.C. photo ID.

People without ID tend to be poorer and less involved in politics. But 115,291 of the 318,643 without ID were motivated enough to vote in 2012. African-Americans are an even larger 36 percent of this group.

An ID requirement won’t hurt most voters, but it will push away the infrequent, lower-income voter with many other worries. The numbers show it will hit black voters hardest. Add the history of voting discrimination and it’s easy to understand why the photo ID push feels like a partisan, racial attack.

The refusal to accept a backup for voters without ID exposes the ugly purpose. Why not let that voter sign a sworn statement with a verifiable identity number, like a birthdate or Social Security number? Most states allow a backup, but not the N.C. bill. Shameful!

Bob Hall

Democracy North Carolina

Durham

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