To the Editor:
The 2013 legislation coming out of Raleigh is bad enough to cause sleepless nights and worried man blues over the future of fair elections in North Carolina.
Starting in 2016, we will be required in defense of “ballot security” to show a valid, government-issued photo ID when we vote. In North Carolina, over 600,000 registered voters do not have a driver’s license or comparable documentation.
Apparently, many of our legislators are concerned about voter fraud, as when somebody claims to be voting in your name. Voter impersonation is largely a myth and practically non-existent in the U.S. In North Carolina elections from 2004-2010, less than 5 votes per 1 million involved fraud that could be prevented by using a photo ID.
Yet our state is willing to waste millions of tax dollars to implement public outreach, print new IDs, and create a new state agency with the board of elections to “fix” a problem that barely exists. In fact, voter fraud is much more likely to occur in absentee voting, but these voters will not need to submit an ID when voting — they need only submit a birth date, the last four digits of their social security number, and sign an attestation under penalty of a felony to cast a ballot. So why can’t in-person voters be treated equally?
It’s not just about voting rights. Here’s a few of the pending 2013 bills: deny Medicaid for the poor (SB-4); cut unemployment benefits in half (HB 4); and deny state employees the ability to have union dues taken from their paychecks but allow chamber of commerce dues to be deducted (HB-667).
My own personal “favorite” bad bill is the “Equalize Voter Rights” Senate Bill 667, introduced by Sen. Bill Cook, a Republican, who won the 2012 election by 21 votes. This bill penalizes parents of dependents (e.g. students) who choose to vote at an address other than that of the parent or legal guardian. These parents will lose their North Carolina state tax exemption of $2,000 for claiming a dependent if that person uses a college residency. In the courageous words of Sen. Cook:
“Tax reduction will require courage and fortitude in the face of all the shortsighted special interest groups clamoring for money from state funds …”
If you’ve had enough and don’t have time to travel to Raleigh for a “Moral Monday” protest, you might consider joining local voters in the streets of Waynesville at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, June 24, to protest what is happening in Raleigh. For more information contact Janie Benson at 828.456.4942.