News: Quick Takes

Cooper vetoes voter ID bill; fate of elections board bill uncertain

Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018 (CJ photo by Dan Way)
Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018 (CJ photo by Dan Way)

As expected, Gov. Roy Cooper Friday vetoed Senate Bill 824, a measure implementing the voter identification requirement enacted in November by voters in a constitutional referendum.

In his veto message, Cooper called the measure “sinister and cynical.”

“It was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters. The cost of disenfranchising those voters or any citizens is too high, and the risk of taking away the fundamental right to vote is too great, for this law to take effect,” Cooper said.

The General Assembly must pass enabling language implementing the constitutional mandate at some point. The bill passed 67-40 in the House and 25-7 in the Senate, more than the three-fifths needed to override the veto.

If the legislature cannot override before the end of the year, the 2019 legislative session will take up a new bill.

In a statement issued late Friday, House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said, “We are certainly disappointed that Governor Cooper chose to ignore the will of the people and reject a commonsense election integrity measure that is common in most states, but the North Carolina House will override his veto as soon as possible.”

Moore noted 34 states have some sort of photo ID requirement to vote.

Meantime, the governor’s office hasn’t indicated if Cooper will sign or veto House Bill 1029, the measures passed this week by overwhelming margins which restores the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commissions as separate agencies.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to note the legislature had sufficient votes to override a veto when the bill passed and updated to include remarks from House Speaker Tim Moore.