There are several proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution that will appear on the November 2018 ballot.
The House Bill 1092 ballot will read as follows:
[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST
Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.
Although requiring voter ID may seem like an obvious and non-bias voting requirement, and over 30 states have a voter ID requirement, it has been criticized as having an adverse impact on minority voters, and the target — voter fraud — has not been shown to be a wide-spread problem.
Here is part of the text of the Bill:
SECTION 1. Section 2 of Article VI of the Constitution of North Carolina is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
“(4) Photo identification for voting in person. Voters offering to vote in person shall present photographic identification before voting. The General Assembly shall enact general laws governing the requirements of such photographic identification, which may include exceptions.”
It remains to be seen what the Legislature has in mind with “exceptions.” The Legislature has not revealed what they may be. So, the citizens of North Carolina are being asked to vote on something that the Legislature expects to add to or to change.
In North Carolina there are 381,000 eligible voters (5.6%) who do not have a driver license. Some people such as the elderly or disabled are unable to drive and have no need for a driver license. This creates a barrier for those people to vote.
There is no current plan to give free IDs to voters. It is unclear what provisions would be made for poor people who do not currently have IDs.
The backstory here is significant. North Carolina previously enacted a voter ID law. Our federal court of appeals ruled that that the “General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.”
The Legislature may attempting to use the citizens of North Carolina as cover to enact a Constitutional amendment, so that it can get a second bite at the apple that our federal court of appeals has found unlawful.
Six Constitutional Amendments will be on the ballot in November. They are:
1. Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Wildlife (Senate Bill 677)
2. Selection of Judicial Vacancies (Senate Bill 814)
3. Bipartisan State Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement (House Bill 913)
4. Rights of Victims of Crime (House Bill 551)
5. Seven Percent Cap on Income Tax Rate (Senate Bill 75)
6. Voter ID (House Bill 1092)