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House passes Voter ID delay bill; governor must sign


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Legislation delaying the state’s Voter ID law was sent to Gov. Roy Cooper Wednesday after it unanimously passed the state House.

Cooper must sign the bill by Friday to avoid complications in the 3rd Congressional District primary. Absentee ballots for April 30 primary can be requested starting Friday and the state elections office has not yet developed rules for implementing the new law.

Cooper’s office would not say when the governor planned to sign the bill.

The state House voted 116-0 Wednesday to delay the ID requirement until 2020. The Senate approved the bill Tuesday with a 29-21 vote.

North Carolina voters in November approved a constitutional amendment that will require people to present identification before voting. The General Assembly adopted legislation in December for carrying out the process and required it to begin with the state’s 2019 municipal elections.

The legislation defined the types of photo identification that will be accepted, including North Carolina university and community college IDs and state worker IDs. It also required local election boards to issue voter photo identification using equipment provided by the state.

The State Board of Elections has not purchased the equipment or adopted rules for issuing IDs. There also was concern among some legislators that some universities and community colleges will miss the Friday deadline for submitting plans on how their student ID cards will be used as voting identification.

A vote on a amendment seeking to delay the university and community college deadline failed.

Elections officials began raising concerns they would not be ready to implement the law after the death of U.S. Rep. Walter Jones Jr. in early February.

Jones’ death required the governor to call a special selection prior to the municipal votes. Cooper set July 9 as the general election for the seat, unless a second primary is required; then the general election will be Sept. 10.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.