Local House Representative Graig Meyer, along with a coalition of Democratic lawmakers, introduced a bill to expand voter rights in the state earlier this month. Meyer said he knew when introducing the bill that it would not move in the current General Assembly.
“We know this isn’t going to get through, and we know that right now we’re debating on the Republican supermajority’s terms, but we want you to see the contrast,” Meyer said in a follow-up interview after introducing the bill. “Here’s what we would be for related to voting if we had the opportunity, and we hope people will continue to organize around supporting Democrats and give us a majority at some point in the future so that we can expand voter access.”
The bill is a counterproposal to the voter ID legislation that Republicans passed earlier this month and was subsequently vetoed by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. Republican lawmakers are currently working through votes to override that veto.
Republicans will maintain their veto-proof super majority in the General Assembly until January when the new legislature is seated. And while Republicans will still hold a majority, the dynamics of the legislature will shift as Cooper’s veto will hold more weight.
Meyer said that while causes like expansion of voting rights and independent redistricting do not appear to be priorities of the Republican majority in Raleigh, he hopes for bipartisan cooperation in finding a middle ground.
Voters approved a constitutional amendment in November requiring a photo ID to vote, but there was no enacting legislation accompanying the amendment. Republicans had previously called this lame-duck session to work on that legislation, if the amendment was ultimately approved by North Carolinians.
Meyer’s bill would have called for automatic voter registration, online voter registration and other pieces to ensure that those who did not have an ID would be able to acquire one in order to vote.