Is the Republican Voter ID scheme legal under the NC Constitution?

JW Williamson at WataugaWatch has an interesting take on the state constitutionality of the new Voter ID requirement the Republican legislature claims it will push on registered NC voters.

I have never thought the bill stood up to constitutional rights, but I figured the Supreme Court Indiana ruling back in 2008 threw my thinking out the window. But there is something to be said for winning a case against the requirement in state, not federal, court and a case to made that the state's Constitution would have to be amended. From what I can quickly find, the case wouldn't go to the US Supreme Court unless it claimed some violation of Federal law.

Take a look at the post. Any lawyers out there?


Thanks for digging this up.

Thanks for digging this up. I'm no lawyer, but I do play one at BlueNC. And from what I can see, the scheme/scam being promoted by the Tarheel Taliban would violate both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.

Article VI, Section 1 of the North Carolina Constitution: "Every person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized, 18 years of age, and possessing the qualifications set out in this Article, SHALL BE ENTITLED TO VOTE at any election by the people of the State, except as herein otherwise provided.”

Article VI goes on to establish the "herein otherwise provided," outlining that those who are citizens, those who’ve lived in their precinct for at least 30 days, and those who are not felons may register to vote and are eligible to vote. There is no word there about having to show an i.d. and, in fact, there is instead an explicit declaration that registered voters “SHALL BE ENTITLED TO VOTE EXCEPT AS HEREIN OTHERWISE PROVIDED.”

I've looked top to bottom, but there's no "herein" calling for identification of any kind.

PS Calling Bob Orr

Hizzoner the ex-Justice must surely have an opinion already manufactured on the legality of this anti-democratic legislative boondoggle. But I doubt he's allowed to say what he really thinks.

Calling Sponge Bob! Line Busy!

But I doubt he's allowed to say what he really thinks.*James

He didn't get the nickname " Sponge Bob" for nothing! If you are waiting for Sponge Bob to say what he really thinks, than you might be in for a long wait like the unemployed lines in Raleigh after the Art Pope neo-con Republicans destroy your state with unconstitutional pride....

NC Constitution and Voter ID question

I think the applicability of the provision in the NC Constitution in Article VI to the Voter ID proposal would hinge on whether the ID was being used as a qualification for voting in which case the constitutionality would be questionable. If, however, the Voter ID was used to verify the qualifications required by Article VI in order to vote, then it would appear to be constitutionally acceptable. The question would be whether the Voter ID was recognized as a valid way to confirm that the requirements were met with other acceptable methods also available.

Again, I'm no lawyer, but

the ID is obviously being used as a qualification to vote since a legally registered voter cannot cast his/her vote without it. If the voter ID was only to be used to "verify" qualifications, then why wouldn't an individual be asked for it when he/she registered? I'll tell you why: because it is illegal.

I always find something new in the Constitution when I read it

For example:

Sec. 5. Allegiance to the United States.

Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.

This would seem to make moot any legislation being considered by the General Assembly that attempts to undermine Congress' Affordable Care Act.

Hey Taliban Tillis: Ain't strict construction a bitch?

Damn, you're right!

The law against the HCR is illegal under the constitution! Do we have some lawyers down there in Raleigh on our side? Why aren't we on this?

These sections of Article I are notable in this discussion

Sec. 10. Free elections.
All elections shall be free.

Sec. 11. Property qualifications.
As political rights and privileges are not dependent upon or modified by property, no property qualification shall affect the right to vote or hold office.


The definition of "property"

“something owned; any tangible or intangible possession that is owned by someone.”

If the ID is not “property,” then what is it?

Hopefully this bill is another

chance for Gov Perdue's veto.

Its probably unconstitutional, it makes society less democratic, and it will cost millions.

And I have a hard time seeing our state being invested in as a swing state (despite the convention) if this voter suppression bill goes through.

Democrats, it's D-Day: Distract, Delay, Disrupt, Derail

We need to throw every possible obstacle in their path to keep the Voter ID from being implemented before the 2012 elections. My guess is that the NAACP will not accept this without a fight. Add student groups to the mix, elder and disabled rights groups, election watch groups, and every other social justice group you can think of -- hey, we may just make a movement here. If Democrats are smart, they will use this battle as a GOTV strategy under the the banner of "Hell yes, we can" vote, that is. Nothing motivates people more than the threat of being denied their rights.

Resistance is Fertile

In fact, the commmittee meeting

I mentioned didn't finish because time ran out. This just landed in my inbox from Dem NC:

Tomorrow, Wednesday Feb. 23, at 1:00pm, the House Elections committee will have another informational meeting to discuss voter ID. We are asking Triangle area supporters to attend the meeting if you can. Those of you that cannot attend can listen to the committee meeting online at: then click on the link for the Appropriations Committee Room (Rm 643).

Stay connected with the Democracy NC staff person in your area because we WILL need to come back to Raleigh in full force!

In the meantime, tell your friends, Church members, neighbors, etc. to call Gov. Perdue and tell her to “VETO PHOTO ID FOR VOTERS!” I am attaching a flyer that can be forwarded to others or printed off that has more info on voter ID and the Governor’s contact information.


Yep! I think it's a great idea for Liberal/Democrats to fight tooth and nail against voters being required to show ID. Yep, great idea!

From your other posts and comments

I assume you are from the far right side of the political tracks, where corporate interests trump personal rights and Constitutional purity is the order of the day.

Voter ID, on its face, appears to violate the North Carolina Constitution on multiple counts.

So which is it? Do you stand by the Constitution we have ... or do you wish to see the Constitution resculpted to reflect the high sensibilities of an Art Pope Dollar Store?

There are libertarian and fiscal conservative arguments against

...a voter ID bill.

The fiscal conservative argument is self-evident. Why spend the money on implementing something and the inevitable defense of it in the courts?

One could possibly consider voter IDs a worthwhile expense. I do not, and I certainly do not consider it a worhtwhile expense in this fiscal climate.

The libertarian argument should be just as self-evident. Opposing yet another gathering of personal information by the government.

One need not be a conservative or liberal or Democrat or Republican or Libertarian to oppose a voter ID bill.

There's plenty of arguments against voter ID that would stereotypically be placed in any politcal camp.