At a press conference on Friday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) revealed that he was not entirely familiar with certain details of the controversial voter ID bill that he plans to sign into law.
When questioned about the bill’s provision that would prohibit pre-registration of underage voters, McCrory replied, “I don’t know enough…I’m sorry, I haven’t seen that part of the bill.”
Along with restricting pre-registration, the bill also requires voters to display particular forms of government-issued photo identification, cancels same-day voter registration, and cuts the period available for early voting by one week. The bill was passed by the North Carolina legislature after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in late June to strike a key section of the Voting Rights Act.
Although McCrory and other supporters of the North Carolina bill claim that it will aid in the eradication of voter impersonation and voter fraud, recent research suggests that neither issue is a significant problem in North Carolina or anywhere else. New data collected by North Carolina’s Board of Elections discovered only 121 alleged cases of voter fraud out of the nearly seven million ballots cast in the state in the 2012 elections. In 2010, only 28 out of the 3.79 million votes cast were found to be cases of fraud.
Critics of the bill argue that the legislation is simply an attempt by the state’s Republicans to keep Democratic voters from the polls. Voting rights activists suggest that the bill will disenfranchise many individuals of their voting rights, particularly young voters, minorities, and the poor. Director of research and policy development for the North Carolina Policy Watch, Rob Schofield, called the bill an “omnibus elect-conservatives” measure. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has intimated that the Department of Justice may file suit should they find the law to be discriminatory in any way.