Sen. Bob Rucho: The facts on N.C.’s common-sense voter ID law

January 24, 2014 

Your Jan. 23 editorial on the new election reform law opened with the line “bad intentions make for bad laws.” Well, bad “facts” make for bad editorials.

It is puzzling how the same newspaper that has, in the last two months alone, published stories on the need for a new election in Robeson County following the discovery of many voting irregularities, on the firing of the Forsyth County elections director following the improper handling of Winston-Salem State University voter mailings and on a criminal probe into possible record irregularities at the Macon County Board of Elections is now trying to claim that election fraud doesn’t exist.

There is a reason over 70 percent of North Carolinians support the reasonable law requiring voters to show photo ID. Because if even just one fraudulent vote is cast, it will cancel out the vote of a law-abiding citizen. Over 30 other states have adopted common-sense voter ID requirements.

It is nearly impossible to live in society today without photo identification. Whether you are going to the bank, traveling, filling a prescription or even picking up the family dog, you will be asked to present an ID. North Carolina’s election reform law guarantees anyone eligible to vote will have that opportunity. It establishes a list of valid government-issued photo IDs – including driver’s licenses, non-operator ID cards, tribal and military IDs and passports – that voters can present at their polling places. And it allows anyone without a valid photo ID to obtain one at no cost through the Department of Motor Vehicles, years before the photo ID provision is enforced in 2016. (That fact has also been reported on the pages of the News & Observer.)

The law guarantees at least the same number of overall hours for early voting as in previous elections, in sharp contrast to several other “progressive” states – including New York, Massachusetts and Michigan – that do not allow early voting at all. It allows time to verify voter information by repealing same-day registration, ensuring accuracy and bringing North Carolina in line with 30 other states that do not have same-day registration.

As former U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) stated, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” It’s time the News & Observer’s editorial staff took that wisdom to heart.

Sen. Bob Rucho


The writer, a Republican, represents Disctrict 39 in the state Senate. The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the editorial.

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