Raleigh, N.C. — House Speaker Thom Tillis and Republican House leaders will file a voter identification proposal Thursday after what Tillis says has been "a transparent and deliberative process" of seeking public input. "This bill has had more discussion than anything in recent history," said House Elections Committee Co-chairman Tim Moore.
Under the proposal, beginning in 2016, voters would be required to show a photo ID at the polls. The bill would allow "multiple forms of state-issued ID," according to Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, including tribal cards, public university IDs and state employee IDs. Private university IDs would not qualify.
Voters without a photo ID will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot but would have to return to their local board of elections with a valid photo ID to have the ballot counted.
Approved forms of IDs that have expired would be accepted up to 10 years from their date of issuance or date of expiration.
For voters over 70, a photo ID that was valid at the time they were 70 will be considered valid indefinitely.
The bill would allow free voter IDs as well as free copies of birth certificates for those who are willing to attest under the penalty of perjury, a felony, that they have a "financial hardship." The definition of "financial hardship" has not yet been provided.
Those who can pay for their photo ID would be required to do so.
People with disabilities as defined in federal law would not be required to show ID.
The bill also makes changes to absentee voting by mail. The forms would be pre-printed, which Tillis says will make the process easier. But beginning in 2014, they will require the submission of a driver's license number, the final four digits of a Social Security number or other federally-approved identification documents like a copy of a utility bill.
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The act also directs the State Board of Elections to study the feasibility of creating a statewide digital database of photos, perhaps using facial recognition software, according to Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan.