HC Commissioners balk at Voter ID legislation

Published 11:09 am Monday, April 23, 2012

WINTON – Even though the idea of North Carolina voters having to present identification to cast a ballot is dead for now, members of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners want to ensure that notion remains buried.

At their meeting here Monday night, the board discussed the possibility of the much-debated measure coming back before state legislators sometimes this year.

That measure, approved last year by the Republican controlled NC House and Senate, was shot down by Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat, who used her power of veto to override the General Assembly’s decision.

“Some counties are now forwarding resolutions to members of the General Assembly in favor of the Voter ID Bill. Personally I am not in favor of this proposed legislation and I just wanted to use this opportunity to gauge how my fellow board members feel about this,” said Commissioner Howard Hunter III who led the discussion on the matter at Monday’s meeting.

“I believe that this bill will deter people from voting, no matter what race you are; that’s my opinion,” Hunter added. “I forget my wallet sometimes when I’m out. I’ve been to Wal Mart and realized I didn’t have my wallet. I’ll just go back home and decide not to go back for whatever it was I thought I needed to buy. That’s how I see this Voter ID Bill. If you forget to take your ID with you and find out you can’t vote, I feel people will go home and not go back.”

Others statewide see the Voter ID measure as a way to discourage people from voting, especially the elderly, the poor and those of color. One report said there were approximately a half-million registered voters in the state who do not have a photo ID….most being individuals that do not operate a motor vehicle and thusly do not need a driver’s license.

Hunter suggested the board adopt a resolution in opposition to the measure and forward it to the General Assembly and to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

Board Chairman Curtis Freeman polled his colleagues of their position on the bill. All said they agreed with Hunter and were opposed to the measure.

“Didn’t the governor already veto this bill,” asked Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer.

“Yes, but they (members of the General Assembly) are going to re-introduce the measure,” Hunter answered.

Freeman instructed County Manager Loria Williams to draft a resolution of opposition to the proposed state legislation and have that document ready for the board to review at their next regularly scheduled meeting (10 a.m. on Monday, May 7).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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