A voter ID bill has passed the North Carolina House and is headed to the Senate.
House Bill 589 passed the House on its second reading today with a vote of 81-36, according to House Speaker Thom Tillis' office.
Carolinians consistently and overwhelmingly support photo ID requirements for
voting," Tillis said in a statement. "This bill not only responds to the opinions of our
constituents, but also provides individuals without photo ID's with an
opportunity to acquire them at no cost. This common-sense measure will
protect the integrity of the ballot box and restore confidence in our election
The bill requires voters to show one of many forms of identification at the polls starting in 2016. Republicans say it is necessary to prevent possible fraud. Democrats say fraud rarely happens and there is no need for new burdens to vote.
It's expected to cost up to $3.7 million over the next five years.
The ACLU immediately responded Wednesday with a sharp rebuke of the bill.
"We all agree that it's important to protect the integrity of our voting system, but putting up barriers that will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of eligible North Carolinians to vote is not the answer," said ACLU-NC Policy Director Sarah Preston.
"We urge the Senate to reject this proposal and instead take steps to ensure that all eligible voters in our state are able to exercise their fundamental right to vote without having to face any additional obstacles."