This week the North Carolina Legislature passed, and Governor McCrory signed, a bill requiring a photo ID in order to vote. This bill will disenfranchise a large number of voters in our state, especially the elderly (which includes the Greatest Generation, who saved our country for democracy), and the first-time voters. In addition, the bill eliminates one week of early voting, which has been extremely popular with older folks.
Some real examples: a friend is 94 years old. She served as a nurse in WWll, has always been very active in her church and community, her husband was a state senator for several terms. She has voted in every election since she was old enough, but now she can’t vote, because she has no “valid” ID. Another friend is 87, has never driven because she is blind, she and her family have worked tirelessly for their church and community, but now she can’t vote.
The newspapers assure us that “free IDs” can be obtained at any driver’s license office. How does a 94 year old woman or a blind woman locate an office and get there? What about the many older folks who do not see a newspaper or who missed the announcement on the news? What about those who were not born in North Carolina, and don’t have a birth certificate? There will be thousands who make the effort to get to the polls, only to be told they are not eligible. Few people will go through the process of casting a provisional ballot, which may, or may not, be ruled eligible by the officials. Many restrictions on absentee voting have been lifted, creating more opportunities for fraud.
Recent redistricting, with changed boundry lines and split precincts, increases the likelihood that folks will go to the wrong precinct to vote. For years, they could fill out a conditional ballot, which, after verification, would be counted. Under the new law, these votes will be thrown out. The elderly, and minorities are most likely to be in this group.
With all the distractions today, many young people are turned away by politics, not realizing that politics effect every phase of our lives, or that voting is a precious right and a responsibility. Currently, high school civics classes provide an opportunity to get them involved, and even provide pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds. In many cases, this will be the last opportunity to reach these kids. The new legislation totally eliminates this registration. Things get even more complicated when a college student tries to vote!
Incidentally, these free IDs are estimated to cost North Carolina $823,200 in each of the first two years, and over $24,000 annually. All of this to fix a problem that all surveys indicate does not exist.
Is it a coincidence that the elderly, the young, and minorities tend to vote Democratic?
Margaret S. Ramsey — Franklin, N.C.