McCrory not familiar with all of bill he's to sign
by Michael Biesecker, Associated Press
The bill passed along party lines after hours of emotional debate where Democratic opponents, many of them veterans of the civil rights movement, questioned why Republicans were making it harder to register to vote and cast a ballot. (AP Photo/Wilfredo L
RALEIGH, N.C. -
North Carolina Gov. Pat
McCrory says he will sign into law a Republican-backed bill making
sweeping changes to how and when citizens can vote even though he has
not seen one of its key provisions.
McCrory praised the bill in a media conference Friday, saying it will restore faith in elections by requiring voters to present government-issued identification at the polls.
An Associated Press reporter asked the Republican governor how three particular provisions of the bill would help prevent voter fraud — ending same-day voter
registration, trimming the period for early voting by a week and
eliminating a program that encourages high school students to register
to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays.
McCrory talked about
two other sections of the legislation — a measure added to through a
Democratic amendment that directs counties to make early voting
available for more hours during the abbreviated early voting period and a
provision forbidding lobbyists from passing campaign donations from
their clients directly on to lawmakers.
Asked again about the three provisions and how they would prevent voter fraud, McCrory said he had long been concerned about same-day registration, which allows voters to cast a ballot immediately after presenting elections officials with proof of their name and home address.
McCrory said the system had potential for abuse.
"There is plenty of opportunity for voter
registration — online, offline, through many methods," McCrory said. "I
thought that was a fair system before and I think it is a fair system
North Carolina has never allowed voters
to register online, though they can download a form and print it out.
The GOP-backed elections bill tightens restrictions on registration,
requiring voters to submit a paper form by mail or in person at least 25 days in advance of a primary or election.
McCrory was then asked specifically about the provision ending pre-registration by those under 18.
"I don't know enough, I'm sorry, I haven't seen that part of the bill," McCrory replied.
Republicans have said the legislation is meant to prevent voter
fraud, which they claim is both rampant and undetected. But
non-partisan voting rights groups, Democrats and libertarians, suggested
the true goal is suppressing voter turnout — especially among blacks, the young, the elderly and the poor.
bill passed along party lines after hours of emotional debate where
Democratic opponents, many of them veterans of the civil rights
movement, questioned why Republicans were making it harder to register
to vote and cast a ballot.
GOP legislators in North Carolina
passed the bill after a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last
month striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
that required states with a history of racial discrimination to get
prior federal approval before making changes to elections law.
U.S. Justice Department and civic groups including the NAACP have
signaled they may file federal lawsuits under the remaining provisions
of the landmark voting act seeking to overturn North Carolina's new law.
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, sent McCrory a letter urging him to veto the bill.
years, North Carolina has taken steps that encourage people to vote
while maintaining the integrity of the system," Cooper wrote. "With a
veto, you can encourage more people to be involved in the political
process, stop this bad public policy, and prevent the confusion and cost
of a legal battle."