Editorial: Follow the lead of Democrats in Forsyth Co.

Editorial: Follow the lead of Democrats in Forsyth Co.
April 23
00:00 2015

The Forsyth County Democratic Party elected a new slate of officers on April 11. Voting members chose Eric Ellison as its chairman.

He told The Chronicle that he was motivated to seek the post because he has been working with elections for the past 22 years, and he sees how important the 2016 election is going to be.

“I think this is historical,” Ellison said.

To that end, the party is working to counter any negative effects of the Voter Information Verification Act or “VIVA” (S.L. 2013-381). Beginning in 2016, North Carolina will require voters to show a photo identification (photo ID) when they show up in person to vote.

Ellison said the party has already started working to make sure people who have been identified as those who might be affected by the new law will be ready to vote with no problems in 2016. The North Carolina Democratic Party has identified thousands of people who “might be victims” of the new law, Ellison said. There are 99,000 Democrats in Forsyth County, he said.

He said every week people will be working at phone banks, calling those people who might be affected and making sure they understand the new law and how it could affect them. And the workers also will be “hitting doors” as well at some point, Ellison said.

Those who support the new law say what’s the big deal? We have to have government–issued IDs anyway. That’s not true for a good deal of African-Americans. It takes money to obtain the required identification to vote, which many African-Americans don’t have. And the person getting the ID has to go to an authorized place to obtain the ID, which could seem like 100 miles away to a person who has no transportation.

Here are the acceptable photo IDs needed to vote starting in 2016:

*Unexpired North Carolina drivers’ license, including a learners’ permit or provisional license

*Unexpired North Carolina non-operators identification card (Department of Motor Vehicle ID Card)

*Unexpired United States passport

*United States military identification card

*Veterans Identification Card

*Tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe

*Tribal enrollment card issued by a tribe recognized by North Carolina

*Out-of-state drivers’ license or non-operators identification card (valid only if the person’s voter registration date in the county is within 90 days of the date of the election)

There are no photo ID requirements for people who vote by-mail absentee ballot; however, by-mail absentee voters will need to provide identification information when requesting an absentee ballot.

Civilian absentee ballot requests must be made on the State Absentee Ballot Request Form.

The request form will require voters to provide at least one of the following identification information: their drivers’ license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number; or a copy of a Help America Vote Act (HAVA) ID.

In the past, registering to vote was all that was needed. A voter registration card was mailed to the person who registered. What happened to that great idea? That card is a form of identification.

It can be used to verify proof of residence in order to get a post office box, for instance.

People died and went to jail so that others could get that card. It has value, even though it’s free.

The new law is spurring the Democratic Party to move; more organizations and people in the community should move, too, to fight against a law that is designed to keep African-Americans still.

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