Six weeks before Election Day, states across the country are still wrestling over new voting laws.
In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court has thrown a tough new voter ID law back to a lower court.
In Wisconsin, two state courts have blocked a similar law.
And Monday, a panel of federal judges will hear closing arguments on South Carolinas new ID law that requires voters to have photo identification at the polls.
Theyre among 17 states which, citing voting integrity, have passed ID laws or other measures that could impact the election. Critics say they could suppress turnout by discouraging some voters especially seniors and minorities from voting.
But its the absence of such a law in North Carolina that has become an issue in the states gubernatorial race, offering a sharp contrast between Democrat Walter Dalton and Republican Pat McCrory.
Last year, North Carolinas Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a bill that would have required voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed it.
If elected, McCrory said he would sign a similar bill.
You need to protect the integrity of the voting system, McCrory said. I dont want Chicago politics to come to North Carolina.
Dalton has vowed to veto an ID bill.
Walter Dalton has supported measures to require ID to register to vote and to provide ID at the polls for first-time voters who register by mail, spokesman Schorr Johnson said. What he does not support is requiring photo ID at the polls because it could disenfranchise legal voters, especially seniors and rural voters.
Voting battles have played out on many fronts.
Clashes over need for ID
Advocates argue that voter ID would ensure against fraud. Though few cases of actual voting fraud have surfaced, they say its because nobodys looked hard enough.
If you dont look for it, you wont find it, McCrory says. Nobodys looking.
Jay DeLancy calls voter ID a no-brainer.
Youd never get on an airplane without providing an ID, he said. Why should voting be any different?
DeLancy directs the Voter Integrity Project. The group, an offshoot of True the Vote, a national effort that challenges voter registration lists, identified nearly 30,000 N.C. voters who it claimed were possibly dead but still listed on voting rolls.
But state election officials told The (Raleigh) News and Observer that they were already reviewing most of those names, and that more than one-third of them were already listed as inactive meaning their were on track to be removed from the voter rolls.
People are concerned about voter fraud, but we are not finding evidence of (such fraud), said Veronica Degraffenreid, director of voter registration voting and absentee voting at the N.C. Board of Elections. The Voter Integrity Project has not brought forth any information to show that someone is voting in the name of another, and I think citizens in North Carolina need to be aware of that.
Critics say an ID law could make it hard for an estimated 450,000 North Carolinians without a valid drivers license or government-issued ID. And they say an ID law would affect mostly seniors, minorities and students.