Did Thom Tillis really blame constitutional lawyers for his bad voter ID bill?

Tom Tillis’ wide-ranging interview by Don Curtis (owner of Curtis Media) was aired on May 12, 2013.

The questions about HB 589 begin around the 42:00 minute mark.

(VIP-NC commentary will follow the transcript).

Curtis:  One of the most controversial will things that in all honesty I never really quite understood the controversy was the matter of voter identification and that (Tillis laughs) and that’s over. I think there was a obviously some good improvements from the legislation last year that satisfied a lot of folks and that’s over I guess now.

Tillis: Well we’ve passed it out of the house. I think the Senate will take it up and send us largely the bill send us back largely the bill we sent them. It’s a good commonsense bill that factors in… It’s a lot more mature it factors in a lot of what we have observed as working and not working in other states. I’m excited about it and that’s one where quite honestly the opposition was just out of touch even with their own party affiliations. Almost 75% of the people in North Carolina like the idea of requiring an ID before you vote. It will be in law before we get out of here in June.

Curtis: Well I always thought it was a little bit strange. The same people who were asking for gun registration and voter registration were often on opposite sides of the track as far of what kind of registration it was going to be.

Tillis: Well I found it remarkable that a lot of people that opposed a voter ID bill are they themselves require photo ID to get into their organization’s events where they vote for leadership. And it was particularly funny that on the day that Gov. Perdue vetoed a voter ID bill two years ago, she had an event at the governor’s mansion and I saw an invitation that said photo ID required. (Curtis laughs) so I think that people need to move on.

Curtis: There were a lot of good changes made from the original legislation which shows i think that people were listening and heard some concerns and that’s good.

Tillis: That’s right one example a lot of people have not understood is the expired drivers license. Why did we allow that? Because seniors and persons with disabilities built a very compelling case for it but constitutionally we could not carve out one section of the citizenry so we decided that for a period of time an expired drivers license that has an issuance date on it has a termination date that has a picture that reasonably approximates you is okay but those of the sorts of things we did to help people make the transition hopefully they’ll get an ID at all the locations they will be able to get them for free.

VIP-NC response:

[First, a clarification: He is talking about a provision in the law that allows anybody to vote if they only have an NCDL that has been expired for up to ten years. This voting right extends to the tens of thousands of people who flooded into the NC DMV offices in late 2005 and early 2006 in order to get a license before proof of citizenship was required. When asked about this provision by VIP-NC, he called the group “extreme” and never responded.]

In blaming the Constitutional lawyers, Speaker Tillis illustrated how the Left gutted North Carolina’s voter ID law without even going to court. It started with a question about letting elderly voters use an expired driver’s license. Any compassionate legislator would agree that a grandmother, born by a midwife back in 1920 and never issued a birth certificate, should not be hassled to go get a state voter ID card. But then the threat of legal action forced them to apply the law to everybody and not just the elderly. Rather than caving to that fear tactic, maybe the Legislature should have taken the expired license off the table and come up with a better idea.

Our proposed solution is to keep it simple: Require a current NCDL, NC Non-Operator’s ID Card, a US Passport (with proof of residency) or a military ID card (with proof of residency) for hassle-free voting. All others would sign a sworn attestation (or affidavit) that they really do not have any of those ID cards in their possession. The Left normally likes this idea because . . .  after all, they realize that a liar who lies about his name can also lie about not having an ID and the law makes sure he will never get caught. So, we propose one teeny tiny additional burden on the person claiming not to have an ID card in this, the year of our Lord 2013: The affidavit would require a digital photograph of the person signing it and the public has a right to view all such affidavits for a reasonable time after the elections, like during any recount or protest actions.

Suddenly, the ACLU and the Eviscerate NC crowd will become fiscal conservatives as they scream about the cost. Of course it will cost money, because the counties will claim they don’t have the computers or the funding to buy the $29 digital cameras that plug into those computers. We would answer that objection with a good idea from former Wake County Judge Abe Jones (D). At the April 10 hearing, he suggested a new check-off block should be used on the NC tax form to enable taxpayers to donate money for the voter ID costs. In this case, an Election Technology Improvement Fund might do the trick. Counties who cannot figure out a way to drag their office computers to the polls can probably write a grant application to get new equipment for the digital imagery; but beyond the cost of the technology, we stand in delicious anticipation of the convoluted argument that our US Department of Justice will no-doubt create in order to block so simple a solution to this very serious problem.

The newsflash to our House leadership is that no matter how fraud-friendly your bill is, somebody on the Left will sue you. In fact, even with your weak HB 589, Blueprint NC puppet, William Barbour, has already made noises about filing suit. So, quit acting surprised. It’s how they roll! If they get five things, they will sue for numbers six and seven.When they win number six in court, they circle back around in a year or two and sue for seven. This is as natural to them as tying their shoes, so deal with it!

Our advice for the state’s elected “leaders” is this: Given that a lawsuit cannot be avoided, why not make the terms of the suit favorable to your own side? The trick is to make the case so clear and simple that the other side has to look evil in order to conjure up some crazy hypothetical case in their defense. Ronald Reagan called it, “going over the heads of Congress and speaking directly with the American people.”

North Carolina has just such a golden opportunity to show the entire nation how to enact an effective voter ID law. We need one that might actually prevent the systematic types of election fraud that were exposed in the 1982 Illinois federal trials that resulted in 63 convictions and more than 100,000 stolen votes. Our state should create a bold bill that will either make a real difference or expose the true intent of the American Left . . . thwart any laws that could hinder electoral fraud.

In this case, NC “leadership” should heed the immortal words of Bruce Springsteen*, “walk tall or baby, don’t walk at all.





* Written before he managed to alienate Constitutionalists and other Individualists who oppose collectivism.