State lawmakers begin work on new voter ID regulation

State lawmakers begin work on new voter ID regulation

RALEIGH, N.C. — Lawmakers are working out the details of North Carolina's voter ID law.

Voters approved the idea this month, but the ballot measure left the specifics up to the state.

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A draft of the bill allows student IDs to be used, but only if they are from a school in the UNC system

That leaves out private universities and community colleges. On Monday, representatives from both asked for their institutions to be included

"We believe the rigor of student ID process should be enabled to meet the voter ID requirement,” Dr. Hope Williams, with North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, said.

Under the draft plans, other acceptable forms of ID to vote include a driver’s license, a passport, a military ID and the new ID card that will be available at local election offices.

Dozens of people told lawmakers what they would like to see in the new voter ID law.

“I find it very appalling a student from another state can vote here,” one person said.

“People are going to make IDs to vote like they made IDs to buy beer in high school,” another said.

The draft of the bill calls for rollout by the 2019 municipal primaries when voters will make their party's picks for Charlotte City Council and mayor.

That's way too soon, according to former legislative counsel Gerry Cohen. “Let’s look at November 2019 or the 2020 primary.”

Republican Rep. David Lewis, the co-chairman of the committee, said the feedback will be taken into account.

"The point of voter ID is to verify the person is who they are, not whether they can live here,” Lewis said.

Many supporters of the law said it is needed to prevent voter fraud.

However, an audit by the State Board of Elections found the 2016 presidential election was virtually fraud free.

Critics of the new voter ID law worry it will make it harder for African-Americans to vote.

The latest numbers from the Budget and Tax Center found 50 percent of the voters in Mecklenburg County who do not have DMV IDs are African-American.

Voter ID laws are not new to North Carolina.

Two years ago, a federal court struck down state legislation that required strict photo ID requirements, saying it targeted African-Americans with "almost surgical precision."

An updated voter ID bill could emerge as soon as Tuesday. Lawmakers have been advised to plan to be in Raleigh until next week.

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