Our View: Picture this next year

Dec. 12, 2012 @ 01:07 AM

In his Tuesday commentary on the Opinion page, columnist John Hood said the idea to require presentation of a photo ID to vote in North Carolina isn’t controversial.
But given the fact the idea has sparked lots of public debate here and around the nation where such voter ID laws have been considered, we’d disagree with Hood.
And we expect there will be plenty more debate of this controversial matter next year when the N.C. General Assembly is sure to bring it up again. But there’s one thing we won’t see next year in the Tarheel State — a gubernatorial veto of a photo ID bill.
Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed a photo ID bill approved last year by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, and her action withstood an override attempt. But with the election of Republican Pat McCrory as governor, passage of a photo ID voting requirement is a more sure thing than you not winning tonight’s Powerball jackpot.
The point of Hood’s commentary, however, was to spotlight the fact that it has been Democratic politicians — whether governors or legislators — and not the public who have blocked efforts here and elsewhere to enact photo ID requirements for voting. He cited a poll published last summer in the Washington Post in which three-fourths of respondents said they favored a requirement to show a government-issued photo ID in order to vote.
As we’ve said before, such a requirement simply is a common-sense effort to increase the integrity of the ballot box. We disagree with opponents who call photo ID an attempt to intimidate and suppress voter participation. However, we do agree that the photo ID requirement might create some hardship for some people who don’t have current photo IDs. Remedies for those voters should be offered in the legislation that establishes a photo requirement. Doing that also will maintain the integrity of the balloting process.
Next year when the General Assembly takes up this issue, passage is certain. It’s up the state’s Republican leaders to get the law right — controversial or not.