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Survey: Voter ID Amendment Ignores Voters' Chief Concern


Monday, June 11, 2018   

RALEIGH, N.C. — After a failed attempt to require that North Carolina voters provide a photo ID when casting a ballot in recent years, lawmakers are now trying to make it a requirement in the state Constitution.

Plans for legislation to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot were announced last week, but opponents say the measure ignores the larger concern of North Carolina voters. A new survey by the group Secure Democracy found 84 percent said they're concerned about election hacking.

Colin Weaver, director of state affairs with Secure Democracy, explained the findings.

"The voters have made very clear, a two-to-one majority of North Carolina voters have said, they want lawmakers focused on protecting against computer hacking of our elections, and not requiring a photo ID in order to vote."

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly passed voting restrictions, including a voter ID law that a federal appeals court ruled in 2016 targeted Black voters "with discriminatory intent" and, as the court put it, "almost surgical precision." The ACLU, NAACP and Democracy North Carolina have also spoken out against the proposed constitutional amendment.

Supporters of requiring voter IDs say it's a necessary step to prevent fraud on Election Day.

In 2017, the State Board of Elections website was hacked. In the survey, 78 percent of Republicans polled said they're concerned about election hacking. Weaver said after years of debate on the issue, North Carolinians are going into this debate with eyes wide open.

"Voters are smart. They understand these thinly veiled attempts disguised around security, when really it's trying to write election laws sort of tilted in their favor,” he said. “And I think voters want lawmakers to be focused on the things that really will protect our election systems."

North Carolina spent nearly $5 million between 2013 and 2016 defending the Voter ID law, that was later declared unconstitutional by a federal court.

Reporting by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the Park Foundation.

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