The voter ID amendment, HB 1092, is likely to pass the NCGA and may appear on your ballot this November. I hear one question above all, from mouths on all points on the political spectrum: "if voter fraud is so rare, why are you worried about photo ID?"

Most voters are actually in favor of voter ID at the polls. In a world without the cynical politicial maneuvering the NCGA favors, this may not be a bad thing. But as we've seen, voter ID laws in North Carolina aren't really to stop voter fraud. They're meant to suppress the vote.

Okay, but how exactly? The ACLU's Voter ID Factsheet explains how voter ID laws, which may not seem threatening, could potentially prevent millions of people from being able to vote. WUNC gives some more clarifying context.

This isn't just a new law. This will be written into the Constitution of North Carolina, which will make it a lot harder to be changed than a regular law. What's even more insidious: when voting on this amendment in November, voters wouldn't get any more detail than the paragraph upon which they're voting, which is, simply: "Photo identification for voting in person. Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law." So it will be up to the NCGA to decide what kinds of voter ID will be acceptable. The NCGA has tried this before, and was denied by the supreme court because of the explicit racism in their motives.

Simply put, this is a racial issue, and is merely continuation of the NCGA's closed-door approach to politics.

That being said, fresh glances at voter ID studies suggest that perhaps voter ID laws may not be as oppressive as they were first indicated. Vox finds that the benchmark study used to prove that voter ID laws disproportionately affect people of color/ low-income people was flawed. Does this mean that voter ID laws have NO effect on voter turnout? No, they still do, but perhaps less than we'd originally thought. But the NCGA isn't enacting this amendment to protect democracy. They're using it as a tool to manipulate democracy, something that should not be done by any government for any motive, anywhere.

Unfortunately, it is likely to pass the NCGA, and it is also likely to pass the vote in November. So what do we do? Our best bet is to vote! In November, vote in people who can shape the voter ID policy.

Until then, contact your NC legislators here and let them know how you feel about this amendment. Call/email Senator Berger and Speaker Moore. Even if you don't believe they'll listen, it's hard to ignore many voices raised in the same refrain. Why else would they try so hard to stop people from exercising the most powerful voice they have-- their vote?

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