The Voter ID Law…Is this any improvement?

A few weeks ago, we blogged to you about the NC Voter ID Law being proposed by Republicans in the general assembly–it would have required anyone voting to present state-issued identification, showing their address of residence.

Republicans have listened to the push-back (in part from the dozens of Duke students who called and petitioned the general assembly with Duke Democrats on the plaza!) and have proposed a compromise policy–under the amended proposal, you’ll be able to present your voter ID card instead of photo identification.

What this means if you’re a Duke student: hold on to your voter ID card. Given how buzzing the Duke Card Office is most days, this might be a challenge for the average college student.  The BOE across the state will have to be very conscientious about explaining to people that they must maintain their voter ID card.   I’ll give the Republican party due credit for attempting a compromise.


I’m still not convinced that a solution is necessary, because I’m still not convinced the status quo is a problem.

Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, chairman of the House Election Committee says…

“This gets us toward a little more confidence in the elections process.”

Who are all these people who lack confidence in the election process?  There are certainly a lot of people who lack confidence in the government–in fact, a lot of people this bill would harm are people at the margin, who don’t feel like the government always speaks for them.  Maybe I’m running in different circles than Rep. Lewis, but I have never heard anyone, Republican or Democrat said that they weren’t confident that U.S. or N.C. elections reflected the will of the people, on the basis of election fraud (as opposed to say, the electoral college, or voting machines with no paper trail).

Instead of thinking of solutions (and finding compromises among bad solutions), we need to identify problems.  Start out with evidence that voter fraud is a problem, then establish a consensus around solving it, instead of proposing flawed and regressive legislation that imposes major roadblocks to voting, and expecting you’ll achieve consensus just by lowering those blocks.

Published by Elena Botella

Elena Botella is a Duke Undergraduate in the Class of 2013, majoring in Economics and Math.

2 thoughts on “The Voter ID Law…Is this any improvement?

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