Rep. David Price (NC-04) on Nov. 30 co-sponsored three bills designed to stop efforts in North Carolina and other states to obstruct voting rights and disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters.
“Half a million North Carolina residents—including many minorities, seniors, women and young people—do not have a photo ID,” Rep. Price said. “The General Assembly is trying to make it harder for these citizens to vote. It is an attack on voting rights, plain and simple.”
The bills Rep. Price is co-sponsoring would prohibit photo identification requirements to register to vote or cast a ballot, require same-day registration and protect “no excuses” absentee voting by mail. This summer, General Assembly Republicans passed legislation instituting a voter ID requirement in North Carolina. The legislation was vetoed by Governor Perdue, but Republicans have continued to push for passage of the measure in a series of short, abruptly-called sessions this fall.
“The right to vote is the very bedrock of democracy," Price said. "We must reject any attempt to restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise that right, especially when the clear motivation is political gain.”
Proponents of voter ID have raised the specter of voter fraud, but voter fraud is already a felony offense. That penalty appears to have a significant deterrent effect. According to Democracy North Carolina, between 2004 and 2008—a period encompassing multiple national, state and local elections—the State Board of Elections found only five votes per million cast were fraudulent.
The bills Price is co-sponsoring are:
• H.R. 3316 (Rep. Keith Ellison-MN)—prohibiting election officials from requiring photo identification to register to vote or cast a ballot.
• H.R. 3317 (Rep. Keith Ellison-MN)—requiring states with a voter registration requirement to make same-day voter registration available at the polling place on the election days (or on the day of voting for early voting)
• H.R. 2084 (Rep. Susan Davis-CA)—prohibiting a state from imposing additional conditions or requirements on the eligibility of and individual to cast a vote in federal elections by mail, except to the extent that it imposes a deadline for requesting the ballot and returning it to the appropriate state or local election official.