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North Carolina Governor Vetoes Voter ID Bill

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on Friday vetoed the state’s latest attempt to require voters to show identification to cast a ballot, calling the law intentionally discriminatory.

“The fundamental flaw in the bill is its sinister and cynical origins,” the governor said. “It was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters. The cost of disenfranchising those voters or any citizens is too high, and the risk of taking away the fundamental right to vote is too great, for this law to take effect.”

The Republican-led state legislature is expected to override Cooper’s veto, a move that some think will spark lawsuits.

Republican Senate President Phil Berger promised to override Cooper’s veto.

“Governor Cooper’s veto explanation for the reasonable and bipartisan voter ID bill is a tired rehash of unconvincing talking points rejected by the voters,” Berger said in a statement. “Despite the governor’s personal feelings on voter ID, the fact remains that the constitutional amendment passed with a broad mandate from North Carolinians.”

The legislation is meant to implement a constitutional amendment approved in November by 55 percent of North Carolina voters in favor of requiring in-person photo identification to vote.

A 2013 voter ID law was blocked by federal judges on racial discrimination grounds. The new law is more liberal on what forms of ID are acceptable, including driver’s licenses, military, veteran and student ID cards, state and local government employee ID cards, and a new ID issued by election boards free of charge.

“Requiring photo IDs for in-person voting is a solution in search of a problem,” Cooper’s statement read. “Instead, the real election problem is votes harvested illegally through absentee ballots, which this proposal fails to fix.”

The governor was referring to the investigation into suspected absentee ballot fraud in the 9th Congressional District race, which has not been called yet as the Republican leads his Democratic opponent by less than 1,000 votes.

 

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