NASW-NC Social Work Blog

Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.

Voter ID Legislation is Coming to NC Again

By Johanna Field, MSW Intern for NASW-NC

On Wednesday January 23rd, several groups from a Voter ID working group that NASW-NC has been attending held a media event at theJohanna Field General Assembly building to announce their new, anti-voter ID legislation campaign. The website is http://protectourvotenc.com/. They also announced that, over this past weekend, they would begin airing a public service announcement (PSA) they had developed on the topic. Links to media coverage of the event are included at the end of this article. Reverend William Barber from the NAACP and Bob Hall from Democracy NC both spoke at the event. ID legislation is unnecessary and undesirable. We do not know what form this legislation is going to take, yet, but we do know it will be brought up again now that proponents of the bill are in the majority in both the House and the Senate. The Governor has also announced that he wants to see some form of voter ID legislation pass this year. Our hope is to make our concerns heard and encourage legislators to think critically about those they will be negatively affecting by requiring a government-issued photo ID at the polls.\

Want to be involved?

  • Call or email your legislators (and Governor McCrory),
  • Schedule an in-person meeting with your legislators. Find who represents you here,
  • Write an op-ed piece for a local paper or other media outlet,
  • Make a public comment at a committee meeting where Voter ID legislation is being considered,
  • Or come up with an idea to raise others’ awareness of this issue. Be creative! People have done things like create their own t-shirts (www.cafepress.com is one such website that allows you to design your own shirts), organize their friends/colleagues to legally and appropriately protest in public places, and much more.

NASW-NC has developed a list of talking points that you can use when doing any of the above. This proposed legislation significantly impacts our clients and is clearly a matter of social justice. Sources are cited after each point in order to better strengthen our stance on this. Take a stand and make your voice clear to those representing you in our state government.

“NASW-NC recognizes the importance of integrity and transparency in the voting process and that there are opportunities for fraud to take place. However, here are some points as to why we will not support Voter ID legislation if proposed in the same form as that which Governor Perdue vetoed last year:

  • The evidence that does exist of voter fraud rarely, if ever, involves Voter ID(1, 2)
  • Voter ID only stops ONE form of potential fraud (3)
  • 506,000 NC residents and active voters do not currently have a valid, government-issued id (according to a study by Democracy NC; Amended by their E.D., Bob Hall, at last week’s media event to more likely be between 100,000 – 300,000) (4) – these results are similar to trends seen in other states and nationally (2)
  • Disproportionately affects minorities and those aged 65 or older (4)
  • Access to ID-issuing centers would disproportionately affect rural residents (see the study by The Brennan Center) (5)
  • Could have similar effects to previous poll taxes which were deemed unlawful and removed (3,5)
  • Would cost the state more than what is currently being anticipated by the state legislators (refer to figures from other states) (3,6)

These are a few recommendations we would like to see added to any proposed Voter ID legislation:

  • Expansion of what forms of identification would be accepted to verify voter identity (HIPA documents are recommended) (7)
  • Removal of fees for birth certificates, marriage licenses, and government issued IDs needed for voter verification purposes (see previous reference to previous poll taxes) (3,5)
  • Increasing hours and days of operation for ID-issuing centers (5)
  • Expansion of sites capable of issuing state IDs (5)

These recommendations would protect residents’ voting rights and ensure equal and free access to the proposed identification.”
You can also refer back to our previous article for a brief, bipartisan look at Voter ID legislation.

Sources for last week’s media event:

Sources for talking points:
1. www.truethevote.org/news/did-you-know-there-are-voter-fraud-convictions-and-persecutions-in-46-states
2. www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/policy_brief_on_the_truth_about_voter_fraud/
3. www.nc-democracy.org/downloads/WhyOpposePhotoIDforVoters.pdf
4. www.democracy-nc.org/downloads/NoIDDataSheet.pdf
5. brennan.3cdn.net/f5f28dd844a143d303_i36m6lyhy.pdf
6. www.democrats.org/the-real-cost-of-photo-id-laws
7. thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/rhode-island-primary-tests-new-voter-id-law

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2013 by in Advocacy.

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