by Barry Smith
You can’t say that Rep. David Lewis is afraid to face opposition.
Lewis, the chairman of the House Elections Committee, presided over the committee’s public hearing on voter ID Tuesday. By a long shot, most of the speakers at the hearing opposed the measure, which would require North Carolina voters to show a photo ID to count their ballot.
He had rules, primarily that speakers comments last no longer than three minutes. For the most part, that rule was adhered to. In a few instances, speakers went over, but not by much. And Lewis patiently allowed them to complete their comments without interrupting them.
Here’s a sample of the comments made during the public hearing:
— Sarah Preston with the ACLU: “Voting is a fundamental right at the center of our democratic process.”
— William Barber, president of NC NAACP, urges the General Assembly to make voting easier: “Make Election Day a state holiday.” He also called voter ID a “poll tax” and said, “The blood is on your hand.”
— Jay DeLancy, with the Voter Integrity Project, said he’d documented people who voted, but had told the courts that they weren’t citizens.
— A TEA Party representative, who’d lived in other states, said she was surprised to learn that you didn’t have to show an ID in North Carolina.
— Al Bouldin, chairman of Guilford County GOP, said, “We have absolutely nothing in place to catch people who are committing fraud.”
— A UNCG student said, “I currently have three IDs with my photo on it in my pocket” He called claims that voter ID would disenfranchisement voters “bogus.”
— Lee Mortimer of Durham says a photo ID law is a “remedy in search of a problem.”
— Linda Harper. with Citizens for Constitutional Liberties, said, “The best way to protect voter intercity is to require voter ID. ” She added, “there are homes where there are registered voters listed but they have moved several years before that.”