by Bob Geary
House Bill 351: Possibly the worst bill sent to her by the Republicans in the General Assembly, and this afternoon Gov. Perdue sent it right back to them. It didn't pass by a veto-proof majority in the House, incidentally — the 51 "no" votes give Perdue a couple to spare.
“The right to choose our leaders is among the most precious freedoms we have — both as Americans and North Carolinians. North Carolinians who are eligible to vote have a constitutionally guaranteed right to cast their ballots, and no one should put up obstacles to citizens exercising that right.
“We must always be vigilant in protecting the integrity of our elections. But requiring every voter to present a government-issued photo ID is not the way to do it. This bill, as written, will unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters. The legislature should pass a less extreme bill that allows for other forms of identification, such as those permitted under federal law.
“There was a time in North Carolina history when the right to vote was enjoyed only by some citizens rather than by all. That time is past, and we should not revisit it.
“Therefore, I veto this bill.”
The N.C. Center for Voter Education was among the good-government groups which thought this bill was all about obstructing legitimate voters, not — as the Republicans insisted — anything to do with protecting the integrity of ballots. All over the country, Republicans have a long history of trying to suppress low-income and minority voters. That didn't help them when they tried to argue that this wasn't just the latest in their hits parade.