Oppose Voter Id Measure To the Editor:
The African American Caucus of the Forsyth County Democratic Party Jacquelyne Barber Branch is opposed to the “Voter I.D. Bill” proposed by Speaker Thom Tillis and the N.C. Legislature.
The sponsors of this bill state its purpose is to reduce voter fraud; make sure everyone is counted; increase voter confidence in the system and will not inhibit access to the voting process by creating what the speaker says is a fair and measured process for photo I.D. requirements for citizens to vote. However, this is the most regressive and partisan anti-voter bill since passage of a series of election laws by the state legislature that gave judges and registrars almost unlimited power to determine the qualifications and eligibility of voters. The “county law” enacted Feb 27, 1877, nullified the strength of black votes at the ballot box and culminated into the constitutional amendment of 1900, which stripped the vote from African Americans in North Carolina because of their heavy voter participation and overwhelming support of one political party. It is the antithesis of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The African American Caucus FCDP- Jacquelyne Barber Branch is opposed to this bill for the following reasons:
• This bill goes against the stated premise of the sponsors, in that it will not increase voter confidence in the system and will inhibit access to the voting process. Everyone will not be counted.
• This bill is the antithesis of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is a regressive measure that invokes past poll taxes of literacy and finance on targeted citizens to repress their votes through intimidation.
• It is an extremely partisan bill that also invokes racism, economic and age discrimination as it disproportionally affects African Americans and seniors. It will also drastically affect college students and women.
• This bill will duplicate what is already in place. Identification is used to register to vote, and voter fraud is already on the books as a felony. It is also not needed because out of the 6.3 million registered voters in North Carolina there have been 21 cases sent to the District Attorneys and these cases were not due to any violations.
• This bill has too many unknowns. The Speaker and the NC Legislature do not know how to proceed without going against the Voting Rights Act of 1965; do not have a process in place for any distribution by the next election, just 18 months away, to implement any identification process in a fair and measured way; and do not know what information will be accepted for I.D. participation.
In closing, with an estimated cost of $11 million to $43 million, funding is to be set aside to create a North Carolina State Government Voter Identification instead of being set aside for investing in all North Carolina citizens through education, infrastructure and job creation. Creating jobs is what the legislators said they were going to do and what they as legislators were elected to do. Creating jobs, supporting education and infrastructure is what will increase confidence in North Carolina, not a regressive anti-voter bill that requires a state I.D.
The African American Caucus FCDP-Jacquelyne Barber Branch and Chenita Johnson, president