Senate Version of Voter ID Bill “Good” but . . .

On July 23, 2013, the North Carolina State Senate took a giant leap toward open and honest elections by salvaging the tragically flawed House Bill 589 (commonly called the “voter ID” bill). Their bold action comes very close to making North Carolina’s voter ID law a model for other states to follow.

Far from being a perfect bill, the “Progressives” are out in force, calling it “voter suppression” or even “draconian,” but we suspect their bluster is more about fundraising than any concern over the alleged damage it will cause.

First, we offer a general observation: Seeing no guidance for election workers who may discover voters whose DMV addresses differ from their election roll addresses; we wonder how the workers will respond.

The Senate made their greatest revisions by eliminating two fraud-friendly loopholes that were in the House version: The House had allowed voters to present as ID things like expired drivers’ licenses and hundreds of other ID cards that are not issued by either the federal government or the NC-DMV.

The Senate corrected this by allowing only current DMV products (with exception for elderly voters who no longer drive), along with military ID cards, valid US passports, tribal ID cards, veteran’s services ID cards and out-of-state licenses (if the voter registers within 90 days of the election).

This means they eliminated hundreds of easily faked ID cards from the list, which is good because most people are familiar enough with a North Carolina driver’s license that they can probably spot a fake. The same cannot be said for college ID cards or for any other government employee ID cards the House had allowed. Under the old bill, a poll worker in Turkey, NC would have had the impossible job of detecting fake ID cards from, say, Isothermal Community College, way over in Spindale, NC. Where?! My point exactly!

We also appreciate the absentee ballot rules, but want them tighter. Oddly enough, the “Progressives” scream for tighter rules in this area too; but for different reasons. Viewing the law only through a partisan prism, their complaint is that more Republicans vote by absentee ballot than do Democrats, so they want the rules need to suppress this type of voting. Our concern is more about a pattern of systematic absentee ballot fraud suggested by our VIP counterparts in other states.

The conditions are ripe for this sort of criminal enterprise in North Carolina too. The standard ACORN-style MO seems to involve activists obtaining numerous absentee ballots in the names of people who were either fictionally registered in the first place or who registered legally and later moved out of the state. Sadly, they will remain on the voter rolls for years after their departure.

In a sane world, such voters would have been pulled from the rolls, but the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (commonly called “Motor Voter”) prevents their removal for up to eight additional years, and this makes “inactive” voters an easy prey for ballot-box identity theft. Our NC Senate helped mitigate this threat, but they could have done better.

The new law will require the absentee voter to provide some good identifying information that has survived legal challenges in Kansas (among other states), but the same standards do not apply for the (two mandatory) “witnesses” to the process. Unless they provide the same identifying information as the voter, we predict a dramatic surge in absentee voting, as it becomes the new method of choice for stealing elections.

Our biggest problem with the revised voter ID bill involves its implementation date.

While parts of the law take effect in time to reduce election fraud during the 2014 races, the most critical provision (requiring voter ID) will not be enforced until 2016 and this is an unforced error that we do not understand.

The only excuse we have heard thus far looks like a bow toward incompetency of government workers. One Senator told us that the Board of Elections, “wouldn’t have enough time to implement it [if mandated by the 2014 elections].” Oh okay. So let’s not even try??!!

One of the few certainties about voter ID laws is that groups who rely on voter fraud in order to win close elections will sue to stop effective reform that would make fraud harder to commit. More bluntly, the “Progressives” will sue to block this law and they will probably find a friendly judge who will drag it out long enough to cost us more big election.

The question to our Republican leadership is which election do you want to watch the courts delay? If the law is in effect by 2014, that election will be the target of the Left; but if they hold the law off the books until 2016, the stakes will be higher.

Bottom line: We encourage all supporters of election integrity to call their Senators and Legislators in Raleigh to thank them for getting rid of the student ID cards, the government employee ID cards and the expired driver licenses; but it would also be a good time to vent over two problems:

First, the Legislature should protect our absentee balloting process by requiring the same ID rules for absentee ballot witnesses as they require for the absentee ballot voters.

And most importantly, callers should demand that the voter ID provisions take effect now. . . before the 2014 mid-term elections?

Who knows? With just a little more tweaking, North Carolina may have the model bill that other states will envy. After all, in lawmaking, plagiarism really is the sincerest form of flattery.