A new State Board of Elections analysis pinpoints who will be most harmed by a photo ID law. It says 318,643 out of 6.4 million voters don’t appear to have a NC driver’s license or identity card from the Division of Motor Vehicles. African Americans are a disproportionate share of this group. They’re 23% of all registered voters but 34% of the voters without a NC photo ID.
People without ID tend to be poorer and less involved in politics. But 115,291 of the 318,643 voters without a photo ID were motivated enough to cast a ballot in 2012. African Americans are an even larger share of this group, 36%. An ID requirement won’t hurt most voters. But it will add another hassle and push away the infrequent, lower-income voter with many other worries (who still has constitutional rights and deserves your respect!) The numbers show the strict ID barrier will hit black voters hardest and especially affect their participation in a hot presidential election.
Add the history of voting discrimination and you’ll understand why the photo ID push feels like a partisan, racial attack. The refusal to accept a back-up for voters without ID exposes the ugly purpose. Why not let that voter sign a sworn statement with a verifiable identity number, like a birth date or social security number? Most states allow a back-up, but not the NC bill.