In last year’s midterm elections, 55.49 percent of North Carolinians voted to approve a constitutional amendment to require photo ID to vote. However, lawmakers did not finish the actual legislation of the amendment until Dec. 6, amid protests and an eventual lawsuit from the North Carolina NAACP.
The new legislation then went to Gov. Roy Cooper on Dec. 14. He vetoed the bill, saying in a statement that requiring photo ID does not solve the problem of illegal absentee ballots and instead puts up barriers to honest voters.
"Finally, the fundamental flaw in the bill is its sinister and cynical origins: It was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters,” Cooper said in the statement. “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 General Assembly overrode Cooper’s veto due to its supermajority in both houses that existed until the new year. On Dec. 19, the bill became law, but the North Carolina NAACP filed a federal lawsuit against it the next day to attempt to keep it from taking effect.
Supporters of the amendment say that requiring a photo ID to vote would prevent election fraud. Tomas Lopez, executive director of Democracy NC, said that while election security is important, a photo ID requirement would prevent voter impersonation, which is very rare, but does not prevent absentee ballot fraud.