But Lewis, the GOP lawmaker, said the legislature was committed to developing a system that would let voters get an ID at no direct cost to themselves. He said that in Georgia, which has had a voter ID law since 2006, fewer than 27,000 free photo IDs were distributed by the state.
GOP claims disputed
Barber said the proposed voter ID law also raised constitutional questions regarding equal protection, because no photo ID is required for an absentee ballot. How can one group of citizens be asked to show a photo ID when they show up at the polls, but not those who mail in their ballots? Barber asked.
Barber dismissed McCrorys comments that it is not an imposition to ask voters to show a photo ID because they are required to show an ID before they can buy Sudafed or get on an airplane. Barber said that neither action is a constitutional right as voting is.
Barber said the only fraud were Republican assertions that there is widespread voter fraud which he said was trumped up to try to pass new laws to restrict voting. He said there were already laws on the books making it a felony to commit voter fraud.
He also dismissed public opinion polls showing strong public support for voter IDs. Barber said if a poll was taken decades ago in North Carolina, it would have shown strong public support for racial segregation.
Opponents said they would seek to rally public opposition to a voter ID bill. The NAACP and Democracy North Carolina plan to distribute 200,000 fliers through 600 churches across the state and plan to hold a series of rallies. The fliers all tie the current controversy to the 1965 attack on civil rights marchers who were beaten by Alabama State Troopers as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Meanwhile on Thursday, state Sen. Ben Clark, a Democrat from Fayetteville, filed an alternative bill that would allow voters the opportunity to either present an ID or have their picture taken before casting their ballot. Clark said the bill would both protect against fraud while ensuring that everyone would have an opportunity to vote.