Voting ID Legislation Is Now In Gov. Pat’s Hands

As lawmakers rushed to adjourn for the summer, lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to drastic changes in how voting will be conducted in future elections in North Carolina.

After more than two-and-a-half hours of debate, the House voted 73-41 on party lines late Thursday to agree with dozens of changes made by Senate Republicans to a bill that originally simply required voters to show photo identification at the polls. It was approved by the Senate earlier Thursday, 33-14, also on party lines.

House Bill 589 sparked impassioned, emotional debate in both chambers.

In the House, the only Republican to speak on the measure was Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County, who has been his chamber’s lead drafter for elections legislation. Responding to the assertion that people were scared about the new regulations, Lewis said that was because they had been misled.

“They’ve been told that this bill would somehow deny them the right to vote,” Lewis said. “They’ve been told that (the voter ID requirement) is a poll tax, when even the Supreme Court has told us that it is not.”

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