The North Carolina House of Representatives concurred tonight on a comprehensive measure that will implement a voter photo ID system. House Bill 589, which Representative Szoka co-sponsored, utilizes a common-sense voter ID approach and allows for any citizen without a valid photo ID to obtain one at no cost through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, this bill establishes consistent days and hours of operation among polling sites state-wide.
“With over 70 percent of North Carolina residents consistently supporting the implementation of a photo ID measure, this common-sense legislation responds to the majority of citizens who desire a fair and accountable election system,” said House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg). “The passage of this bill is a testament to General Assembly members’ relentless efforts in working to strengthen our election system.”
House Bill 589 establishes a list of valid government-issued photo IDs that can be presented at polling places, including driver’s licenses, non-operator ID cards, tribal and military IDs and passports. It will be implemented gradually, beginning in 2014, to allow time for voters to obtain a free photo ID. The bill will be in full effect by 2016.
Also established in this bill are standard hours of operation among early voting sites. Sites are required to stay open for 10 days and must provide a consistent number of hours among all locations. This provision will provide consistency among various voting sites, providing ample time for citizens to exercise their democratic right to vote. In fact, the bill provides the same number of early voting hours as the current system.
“This voter ID and election reform bill promotes measures that will provide everyone an equal opportunity to participate in the voting process, while simultaneously protecting the integrity of North Carolina’s election system,” said Representative David Lewis (R-Harnett), Chairman of the House Elections Committee.