Voter ID Proposal Moves Forward

CRAVEN COUNTY - Craven County Commissioners on Monday approved a measure that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

The North Carolina General Assembly would have to approve the plan before it's put into place.

The proposal, which passed 5-to-2, would "require voter identification in order to participate in future Craven County elections," according to the county's measure.

If enacted, the measure would prevent Elon Hill from voting unless he gets identification.

"The first time I voted... I didn't have [photo identification]," said Hill, an Army veteran who lives in New Bern.

Proponents of the plan says an ID requirement would fight voter fraud.

The right to vote "doesn't include illegal aliens, doesn't include dead people, doesn't include [people who] vote more than one time," Raynor James, who was at the Commissioners' meeting, said.

Robert Livingston was also at the meeting.

He does not believe voter fraud is widespread and, therefore, the bill is fighting a problem that doesn't exist.

"What [the plan] does is keep a certain number of people away from the polls," Livingston said.

Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D - N.C.) issued a statement opposing the Commissioners' action.

"The truth is jurisdictions across the country and state are seeking tougher restrictions on voting only because it will disenfranchise young, minority, and low-income voters--all of which traditionally vote Democratic," the statement said in part.

Commissioner Scott Darcy told a reporter Monday that the proposal would affect fewer than 1,000 people in the county.

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