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Protecting Our Elections Through Common Sense

Letter to the Editor 

I plan to do a follow-up piece that goes in-depth to address strides the legislature is making to clean up our elections and ensure that every legal vote counts. However, today I want to voice my frustration with a decision made in the past couple of weeks that I believe goes against the will of the people in this state, and common sense. 

In my opinion, Voter ID is one of the most commonsense ways to root out election fraud and ensure that we are only counting legal votes. Here is a very brief history of Voter ID in North Carolina. Prior to the 2018 election, the legislature passed a measure that would put Voter ID requirements to a statewide referendum, meaning the voters of North Carolina could vote on whether they think you should be required to show an ID to vote. The measure passed overwhelmingly with over 55% saying it should be added to our constitution. Shortly after, with the stroke of a pen, a judge overruled the people of North Carolina and said that Voter ID was unconstitutional. That is why in 2020 you were able to vote without having to show an ID. Shortly after the election in 2020, a three-judge panel ruled that the previous ruling had no merit and reinstated Voter ID in North Carolina. Then unexpectedly, a couple weeks ago, another superior court three-judge panel again ruled against Voter ID, bringing us to where we are now. 

The judges who ruled against said that it was due to Voter ID requirements only targeting certain groups of people. Yet to my knowledge they provided no credible examples of this occurring. Furthermore, in the past, when the argument has been made that there is a cost barrier to obtain an ID, the legislature responded by ensuring that anyone legally seeking an ID would be provided one at no cost. 

In my opinion, we have a serious problem in our state and country when a judge in a black robe has the ability to overrule the legislature and the will of the majority in our state. Securing the integrity of our elections should not be a partisan debate. That was proven by the sheer number of people who voted in favor of it in 2018. It is my understanding that the next steps will be to file an appeal against that ruling in an attempt to uphold the will of the people and reinstate Voter ID in 2022. Election integrity should be a top priority and I will continue fighting for what I believe to be a commonsense way to secure and protect our elections here in North Carolina. Please reach out with any questions to Jake.Johnson@ncleg.gov.

— Representative Jake Johnson