Tillis, House GOP roll out Voter ID schedule

Published 8:45 am Thursday, March 7, 2013

RALEIGH – As promised, it’s back!

On Tuesday morning, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) was joined by members of the House GOP at a press conference in Raleigh to announce their plans for the creation of a voter identification bill.  The tentative schedule includes multiple committee meetings, expert testimony, and a public hearing – all of which will occur before a bill is filed.

“A convincing majority of North Carolinians support voter ID, and we will pass a strong bill this session,” Tillis said.  “To that end, we are beginning a deliberative process that will give citizens the opportunity to voice their opinions and bring all stakeholders to the table.  This is the right approach to move North Carolina to a photo identification voting system.”

The process began Wednesday when the House Elections Committee holds an organizational meeting for the first time this session.

The following Tuesday (March 12), a public hearing will be held on voter identification at 4 p.m. in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh.

The public hearing will be followed by two regularly-scheduled meetings of the House Elections Committee in mid-March where expert testimony will be heard from individuals familiar with various aspects of the issue.  A bill will likely be filed toward the end of March or early April, depending on a number of factors within the schedule.

“We will be deliberate and judicious in our approach to voter ID,” said Rep. David Lewis, Chairman of the House Elections Committee.  “We are confident that this open process will produce a bill that stands up in a court of law, addresses legitimate concerns, and protects the integrity of the ballot box.”

Last year, North Carolina was one of several states where Republican state leaders aggressively sought to enact Voter ID legislation. With Republicans in power within both the Senate and the House, Tar Heel legislators approved such a law. However, backlash from civil rights and election watchdog groups resulted in a veto by then Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue. Now, the Governor’s Mansion is occupied by a Republican, Pat McCrory.