Voter ID law hearing draws large crowd in Winston-Salem

Voter ID law hearing draws large crowd in Winston-Salem
June 11
00:00 2015

In photo above: The North Carolina State Board of Elections public comments hearing drew in a large crowd of interested parties prepared to speak on behalf of the 2013 Voter Information Verification Act (S.L. 2013-381) on Tuesday, June 9, at the Forsyth County Government Center in Downtown Winston-Salem. The Voter Information Verification Act (S.L. 2013-381), passed in 2013 by the NC General Assembly, requires photo identification for in-person voting starting in 2016. (Photo by Erin Mizelle for the Winston-Salem Chronicle)

State elections board gets earful from public

By Tori Pittman
For the Chronicle

On Tuesday, June 9, citizens of Forsyth County gathered at the multipurpose room of the Forsyth County Government Center on Chestnut Street to voice their opinions about the new N.C. voter ID law.

On Aug. 12, 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law that requires citizens of North Carolina to have valid photo identification in order to vote. This law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016, during the year of the presidential election.

The room was filled with people — college students, middle-aged and senior citizens — that were present to listen or speak.
Public Information Officer John Lawson, Jennifer Faulkner and Greg Michalek, who are with Voter Outreach, were seated in front of the crowd, taking notes and listening.

Three pages of citizens signed up to have their two-minute time slot to speak. Those who signed up either had a speech written or were verbally expressing their opinions and concerns.

The biggest issue mentioned multiple times were college IDs would no longer be valid in the new year.

“A lot of college students don’t have the money to purchase an ID,” said Isaiah Fletcher, chairman of the Forsyth County Young Democrats. “It makes no sense why I can’t use a state-funded ID from a public university.”

Fletcher is also a student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro who strongly expressed how most students are in debt and can’t afford to get a photo ID when they have easy access to use their college IDs that’s already a part of their funding to an accredited college or university.

Another concern was when presenting a photo ID on voting day, the person should match the picture along with the physical description that entails on the card. A lot of the people in the community spoke out about how over the years, one’s physical description will appear different as it is when first taking that particular photo.

Residents also expressed about how everyone has the exercising right to vote and mention that people have fought and died for those rights.
“I hope you do your best to guarantee everybody their constitutional right to vote,” said resident Robert McNeill.

There were many African-American citizens present at this hearing that voiced their opinions on the new law. Some of them have said the law promotes voter suppression by these sudden changes.

“I am against the voter ID law and all the new restrictions on voting,” said resident Constance Johnson Russell. “My concern is who police the judges [people who check the voter rolls at the polls] to ensure that they’re not abusing their authority.”

Russell said that long lines will form at the voting polls because of the judges arguing over what photo ID is acceptable.

Citizens of Forsyth County also spoke out how they want the staff to be trained properly at the voting polls. Those who had their two minutes to speak were able to speak again if they didn’t finish getting their point across. While the officials addressed the crowd that this hearing is to be formal, whispers and some applauding still broke out.

To voice an opinion about the voter ID law, submit written comments to or mail them to P.O. Box 27255, Raleigh, NC 27611 to the attention to Rule-making Coordinator George McCue. All submission must be in by June 30.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors