Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) expressed deep disappointment with Craven County Board of Commissioners for approving a resolution today in support of requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote. The measure, which passed five to two, asks the local delegation to the North Carolina General Assembly to introduce a local bill requiring Craven County residents to obtain an approved photo ID to vote, and to pattern the bill after state House Bill 351, which was vetoed in June by Governor Beverly Purdue.
"I am disappointed that the Craven County Board of Commissioners is among the latest to join a nationwide Republican-led initiative to suppress voting rights," said Butterfield. "Despite very few instances of voter fraud in North Carolina and in Craven County, these commissioners claim that voter IDs are needed to protect the integrity of elections. 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. These efforts are purely political and have nothing to do with safeguarding elections."
According to the Board of Elections, 13 percent of African-American registered voters and 11 percent of registered voters over age 65 in Craven County did not have a current N.C. government photo ID. If the measure is enacted, a total of 5,232 Craven County residents would be required to get a government-issued ID to vote.
Butterfield is calling on the local General Assembly delegation in Craven County to not introduce a voter ID bill. The Congressman said that he will work vigorously to encourage the Department of Justice to refuse preclearance of the bill should it become law.