North Carolina moved one step closer on Wednesday to requiring a voter ID at the polls, with the state House passing the Voter Information Verification Act.
Republican Representative David Lewis said the bill was needed to ensure “open and honest elections.”
But Democratic Rep. Larry Hall countered that allegations of voter fraud were largely manufactured by Republicans, repeated often enough over the last two years that the public perceives a problem might exist. Hall said the proposal was intended to disenfranchise minorities, the elderly and women.
Democrats also criticized a provision in House Bill 589 that allows college students of public universities to use their student IDs, while student IDs from private colleges will be rejected.
Rep. Mickey Michaux promised supporters of the measure that the fight would not end with Wednesday’s vote:
“We had to fight for the same rights you had, and what you are doing is putting an impediment, another impediment in here that you don’t have the right under the constitution to do,” said Michaux. “And if we have to go back and fight for that right,like we had to fight for it before, then it’s gonna have to happen that way.”
The bill passed on a 81-36 vote. Representatives William Brisson, Ken Goodman, Charles Graham, Paul Tine, and Ken Waddell were the only Democrats to support the legislation. The voter ID bill now heads to the Senate.
To hear a small portion of the nearly three hour debate, click below: