Earlier this week, the NC State Board of Elections released a report which found that, of the 6.6 million registered voters in North Carolina, 612,955 may not have a DMV-issued photo ID. The News & Observer reports that “the new analysis, which compared Division of Motor Vehicles records to state voter lists, discovered that 53 percent of the voters in question are Democrats and a quarter are over age 65. A disproportionate share, about 30 percent, are black.”
The report prompted Gov. Pat McCrory and Speaker Thom Tillis to tell the press they aren’t opposed to an alternative to photo ID, like allowing voters to show other forms of identification such as a registration card or other government documents. The N&O called this a “softened stance,” but is it? Or is the motivation behind this seemingly conciliatory message the fact that a voter ID bill with a wider range of documents might gain approval from the Justice Department and the courts.
The question that remains is: what is the real objective of any sort of voter ID bill? Conservatives have argued for years that picture ID was essential in combating voter fraud, so this new stance calls into question the need for having a voter ID bill at all. Unnecessary changes to our voting laws would amount to allowing politicians to choose their voters instead of voters choosing their politicians.