Local House Representative Graig Meyer led a coalition of Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday announcing a counterproposal to voter ID legislation currently moving through the General Assembly.
“This is the House Democrat’s proposal to respond to the Republican’s efforts to install voter ID,” Meyer said at a press conference at the legislative building, “and our efforts to tell the people of North Carolina that Democrats want to expand the right to vote, not restrict it.”
The voter identification requirement is currently on the docket for North Carolina lawmakers after voters approved a constitutional amendment in this year’s midterm election requiring a photo ID to vote.
Durham Democrat Marcia Morey joined Meyer as a primary sponsor of the proposal introduced on Tuesday. Morey said she does not believe North Carolinians were given a truthful representation of what they were voting for in November.
“I contend had voters known what they were voting for – in the expense, in the complexity, what we will see in delays and confusion for all voters – they would not have voted for this amendment,” Morey said.
While Democrats made enough gains in the North Carolina House and Senate to break the Republican supermajorities in each chamber, the current voter ID legislation is being debated and voted on by the old General Assembly with veto-proof Republican majorities before the new legislature is seated in January.
Morey said this legislation is focusing on the foundation of our democracy.
“We’re looking at the citizen’s most basic right, and that’s voting,” she said. “Because the vote is the voice.”
One aspect of the new bill that Meyer pointed to on Tuesday was calling for an automatic voter registration.
“Anyone who comes into contact with any state agency – from the Department of Motor Vehicles to registering at a college or community college – would automatically be registered to vote as long as they were eligible to do so,” Meyer said.
The bill would also allow same-day registration and voting on Election Day, implement online voter registration, require that eligible voters be provided with a free ID and extend the voting deadline on the final Saturday of the early voting period, which typically sees the highest turnout leading up to Election Day.
Meyer said he did not anticipate this bill moving in the Republican-led General Assembly, but he added it was an example of legislation that would be taken on if Democrats were to gain control of the legislature.
“We filed this as a way to show this is what Democrats would do,” Meyer said. “And should we retake the majority at any point in the future, we would work on pushing these types of policies to make it possible for North Carolinians to vote.”