Senators Marcus and Nickel Attempt to Delay Disastrous Voter ID Laws

Senator Marcus and Senator Nickel put forward amendments on Senate Bill 214, short title: “Ensure Orderly 2019 Elections”

Raleigh, NC – During a contentious floor debate over Senate Bill 214, Senator Natasha Marcus and Senator Wiley Nickel put forward three amendments to attempt to ease the roll out of new voter ID laws in North Carolina.

Senator Marcus proposed Amendment 1, which would have extended the deadline by which the state board of elections is required to approve the use of certain forms of identification for voting. This Amendment would protect the right to vote of college and university students, among others, who are registered to vote in North Carolina. This amendment was specifically requested by North Carolina Universities.

Senator Marcus said, “By tabling our amendment senate republicans will use an arbitrary deadline to make it harder for young people to vote.”

During his remarks on Amendment 2, Senator Nickel said, “This Voter ID legislation is a train wreck waiting to happen. We need more time to properly implement this legislation or many North Carolinians will be denied the right to vote. ” The amendment would have added another year to fully implement SB214, moving implementation past the 2020 elections.

The Voter ID laws in North Carolina will likely be tied up in the courts for the coming months. On February 22, 2019, a North Carolina Superior Court Judge found the constitutional amendments effectuated by S.L. 2018-144 void, which included the constitutional voter ID amendment.

With the confusion surrounding the state of this constitutional amendment, Senator Nickel proposed Amendment 3 to SB214. Senator Nickel said, “This Amendment would allow for those without a photo ID to sign, under penalty of perjury, that they are who they say they are and cast a regular ballot instead of a provisional.”

The current law allows for provisional ballots in three scenarios including religious objection, reasonable impediment, and natural disaster. Senator Nickel said “More provisional ballots would result in longer lines at voting site and more work for county boards. This would greatly increase the odds of human error.”

In a straight party vote, all three Amendments were tabled by Senate Republicans and the bill was passed to the house as written. The bill delayed implementation of all voter ID requirements for all 2019 elections.