Do you have a driver’s license or another form of photo identification? If not, you may be in for a rude awakening next election.
North Carolina state representatives have proposed changes to House Bill 351 that would require all those voting in person to present a government-issued photo ID or other form of photo identification.
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law issued a national survey in 2006 which revealed that that 18 percent of U.S. citizens over the age of 65, 25 percent of African Americans, 15 percent of those making below $35,000 per year and 18 percent of voters aged 18-24 do not have valid photo identification.
This policy is being proposed in order to prevent instances of voter fraud, yet voter fraud in reality is not a pressing issue. Between 2002 and 2005, only 24 people were convicted of voter fraud. Few of these instances would have been prevented by photo ID laws. In a time when we are laying off thousands of teachers, cutting funding to public services and raising taxes, we should not be spending millions of taxpayers’ money to solve a problem that barely exists.
If the voter ID policy passes, it will make it harder for thousands of our fellow North Carolinians to vote at the polls in the next election. It is this threat to democracy that calls us to do what we can to ensure that everyone has a voice and everyone is given equal opportunity to participate.
Contact Gov. Bev Perdue at email@example.com. Tell her that we should be increasing voter participation rather than making it harder, and to veto House Bill 351.
— Chloe Stuber