RALEIGH (June 25, 2018) – Once again the legislature seeks to disenfranchise people of color from exercising their fundamental right to vote.
Last time, it took the federal courts striking down their direct statutory attempt as a “surgically precise” assault on minority voters. This time, the same constitutional mischief is afoot — only in the form of a capriciously vague constitutional amendment to be voted on in November which simply requires photographic identification to vote.
What could be wrong with that? What isn’t!
Nowhere in state law or the amendment is photographic identification defined. Is a North Carolina student ID good enough? It wasn’t last time. What if it was issued from a state or federal government entity? Not good enough on its own. How close to the election must it be issued? Who knows. Can you provisionally vote if you forgot your ID or if you possess an older ID? Trust us, says the legislative majority — we’ll decide the policy details later, not withstanding the public’s trust was sadly misplaced last time laws were created by this same legislature that have would disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of citizens from voting.
In short, the majority now seeks, solely for turnout of base purposes, to amend North Carolina’s state Constitution by requiring voter photographic identification (whatever that is) to be administered by the state (in what form, we have no idea) based on wink and nod rules and regulations to be developed after the amendment passes. Who would even sign a contract with terms like these in any transaction in their private lives? No one. And neither should the legislature vote to put such an amendment on the ballot. If it does, the public must vote no.
Justice Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Supreme Court said it best recently after striking down a vague term in the nation’s immigration laws: “Vague laws invite arbitrary power… [they leave] the people in the dark about what the law demands… The law’s silence leaves judges to their intuitions and the people to their fate. The Constitution demands more.”