Chloe Stuber, ’11
Do you have a driver’s license? Does it show your current NC address and name? If you answered no to either of these questions, you will not eligible to vote in person in any upcoming elections if a new voter identification bill is passed by NC legislature.
In March of 2009, NC state representatives proposed changes to House Bill 430 which would require all those voting in person to present a government-issued photo ID with the voter’s current address and name.
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law issued a national survey in 2006 which revealed that millions of American citizens do not have readily available documentary proof of citizenship or a government-issued photo ID.
Women primarily do not have proof of citizenship with their current name due to marriage.
The survey also showed that primarily low-income, aging, the younger generation and minority populations are less likely to have these forms of documentation than the general population—18% of US citizens over the age of 65, 25% of African-Americans, 15% of those making below $35,000 per year and 18% of voters aged 18-24 do not do not have valid government-issued photo ID with their current address and name.
The policy is being proposed in order to prevent instances of voter fraud, yet voter fraud in reality is not a real problem. Between 2002 and 2005, only 24 people were convicted of voter fraud, an average of 8 people per year. Few of these instances in which illegal voting occurred would have been prevented by photo ID laws.
North Carolina is currently experiencing one of the largest budget shortfalls in the US of 20.3%. A time when the NC General Assembly should be focusing on balancing the state budget to avoid large lay-offs like the recent lay-off of thousands of public school teachers, our representatives are instead pushing a policy that would cost the state at least 20 million, an estimate from other states that have passed similar policies.
If the voter ID policy passes, it will disenfranchise the majority of our student body and millions of our fellow North Carolinians. It is this threat that calls us as a college united against social injustice to do everything in our power to ensure that everyone has a voice and everyone is given equal opportunity to participate in promoting change.
ACT NOW! Contact Governor Bev Perdue at 1-800-662-8952 or email@example.com. Tell her to veto the photo ID bill.
ALSO: Contact your legislators at 919-733-4111
Even if you think they won’t listen, the more calls they receive, the more they will listen. It could be voted on in the coming weeks, so ACT SOON!
For more information visit:
www.democracy-nc.org, www.southernstudies.org, www.demos.org, www.ncpolicywatch.com