NC governor vetoes voter ID bill

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Friday vetoed a measure that would require voters to show certain forms of identification at the polls.

In a statement, Cooper said he vetoed the measure because it was "a solution in search of a problem."


"The fundamental flaw in the bill is its sinister and cynical origins," Cooper said. "It was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters. The cost of disenfranchising those voters or any citizens is too high, and the risk of taking away the fundamental right to vote is too great, for this law to take effect."

The Republican-dominated legislature passed the measure earlier this month, after voters in November approved a constitutional amendment requiring an identification at the polls.

The constitutional amendment passed with 55 percent of the vote. The legislature passed their bill, which specified what types of identification would be allowed at the polls, on an almost party-line vote.

Republicans hold a super majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. In a statement, Senate President Phil Berger (R) promised to override Cooper's veto.

"Gov. Cooper’s veto explanation for the reasonable and bipartisan voter ID bill is a tired rehash of unconvincing talking points rejected by the voters," Berger said. "Despite the governor’s personal feelings on voter ID, the fact remains that the constitutional amendment passed with a broad mandate from North Carolinians."

But the state legislature will have to hurry: Republicans lost their supermajority status in November's midterm elections. They will maintain their majorities in next year's legislative session, but Democrats will be able to sustain Cooper's vetoes.

The bill specified voters must show one of seven types of identification, including military or veteran's identification cards and student identification cards.

Voters would be allowed to show an identification even if it has expired within the past year. Voters over the age of 65 would be able to show any expired identification as long as it was unexpired on their 65th birthday.

The measure included some key concessions to Democrats, who successfully challenged the previous voter ID law in court, including the provision to accept college identifications. Another provision would allow voters to obtain a registration card that includes their photo at the county board of election offices for free.