North Carolina governor vetoes voter photo ID bill

RALEIGH, North Carolina Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:07pm EDT

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RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue on Thursday vetoed a bill that would require voters to present photo identification before casting a ballot.

"We must always be vigilant in protecting the integrity of our elections," said Perdue, a Democrat. "But requiring every voter to present a government-issued photo ID is not the way to do it."

"This bill, as written, will unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters," she said in a statement.

North Carolina's Republican-led legislature sent the bill to the governor last week.

The measure calls for voters to show one of eight forms of photo identification, including a state driver's license, U.S. passport or military ID card.

Those without proper identification could cast a provisional ballot, but would have to present a valid photo ID before the general vote is deemed official.

Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis said Thursday that the governor's veto ignores popular demand for tighter controls on voting to prevent fraud.

"An overwhelming majority of our citizens have continued to support this bill, knowing that it would provide confidence in voting and protect against potential voter fraud," Tillis said in a statement.

"It would have done nothing to discourage or prevent voting by those who have a right to do so."

Republican-controlled legislatures around the county have cited fraud as they push for voter ID bills. Fourteen states now ask voters to show photo identification at the polls or have passed laws to do so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

North Carolina is the fourth state where a Democratic governor vetoed a voter photo ID bill this year, said Keesha Gaskins, senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York. Vetoes were upheld in Minnesota and Montana, and a veto is pending in Missouri.

Republicans in North Carolina enjoy a veto-proof majority in the state Senate, but will need the help of several Democrats in the House to reach the three-fifths super majority required to override a veto.

Bob Hall, director of the election watchdog group Democracy North Carolina, congratulated Perdue, saying the bill would have reversed an improving trend in voter turnout.

"North Carolina has historically had very low voter turnout, and we've been doing better," Hall said. "The photo ID would have been a tool of voter suppression."

(Additional reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Greg McCune)

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Comments (10)
TexasGolfer wrote:
Now North Carolina voters will just have to either override her veto or elect enough conservatives to their legislature so that you can override her veto. But sooner or later you will have to eliminate illegal voting or the state will go bankrupt. Good luck North Carolina since I plan to move there in a few years.

Jun 23, 2011 7:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
winston6969 wrote:
Another Perdue fake. How quickly she will fall, and fall hard. I am certain that she wants any and every illegal to secure her vote.

Funny thing about the word “integrity”; to me, the word “integrity” means doing the RIGHT thing, EVEN when no one is watching. At least, that is what 22 years of military service taught me!

Jun 23, 2011 10:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bowler6100 wrote:
Every news report on this that I have heard uses the excuse by the governor that it would negatively impact the elderly, women and blacks. Nowhere in any report is the logical follow-up question asked: How? The statement is merely left out there as a fact. There are 8 forms of ID listed as usable. When does it become obvious to people that no Democrat official wants voter ID verified? When will the news media show some integrity and press them to explain themselves?

Jun 23, 2011 10:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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