This article is a submission from Diane Rufino, June 7, 2012.
I'm writing this article to urge fellow North Carolinians to continue their support of the Voter ID bill (H.R.351) and to oppose any efforts by the Republican leadership in the NC General Assembly to compromise or water down the protections of the bill in any way, shape, or form.
I know opponents of the bill believe or simply buy into the hype that a Voter ID law will somehow disenfranchise certain individuals by denying them the opportunity to vote. Groups like the NAACP charge that if NC passes such a bill, minority voters will be denied the right to vote. They feed racial paranoia that white establishment is always looking for ways to keep the black population suppressed. When the bill was being debated last year, Reverend William Barber of the NAACP addressed a crowd at the "Rally Against the Photo ID Bill" in the NC Legislature on April 13. He told the crowd: "On April 13, 1963, Reverend Martin Luther King was in a Birmingham jail trying the move the country forward. And now the radical Republicans in this legislature are trying to take us backwards." And yet there are no instances of blacks being denied the right to vote in North Carolina. Reverend Barber knows full well that the bill is aimed at protecting a process and is not motivated by any racial animus or any intent at all to disenfranchise a single voter. North Carolina is home equally to people of all colors and ethnicities.
The bill is neutral on its face, with proper default provisions included. It's hard-pressed to see how any voter will honestly be prevented from voting. The only thing the bill really does is prevent someone from voting using another's identity. Voter fraud and the opportunity for voter fraud destroys the integrity of that system and undermines the confidence of voters in the system which allows them to participate in their government and which ultimately protects their rights and interests.