Voter ID included in short agenda

Apr. 27, 2013 @ 02:31 PM

A written resolution apposing the voter ID proposal has been drafted and presented to Vance County commissioners, according to Jerry Ayscue, county manager.

The draft resolution will be presented for approval during a called meeting Wednesday night, where commissioners will also receive the proposed budget estimate for the fiscal year 2013-14.

During the commissioners’ meeting on April 2, it was resolved to let the N.C. General Assembly know they apposed legislation for voter identification.

The resolution was presented unlike most resolutions, not appearing as an agenda item, and with no formal written document of resolution presented.

During that time, Eddie Wright, Terry Garrison, vice chairman Deborah Brown and Archie Taylor voted for it; Gordon Wilder, Dan Brummitt and chairman Tommy Hester voted against.

Ayscue, who was hired as county manager in 1984, says he cannot recall a time when commissioners presented a resolution that was not in writing.

“I can’t say that it hasn’t happened, but right this moment, I can’t recall any incidents like that,” Ayscue said. “I think one of the driving forces was that it was a very timed situation where those who supported it wanted to be able to submit it in a manner where it could be considered while legislature was considering their action.”

While formal documentation of the county’s resolution has not been sent to the General Assembly, the controversial proposal that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls took a step further toward becoming a law Wednesday as it passed the N.C. House and moved to the N.C. Senate.

Brummitt, who voted against approval of the verbal resolution, says he was mindful of misinformation given as reasoning for the unexpected motion.

“I think there was some of us on the board that questioned the resolution, because of the information that was not correct that was presented at the meeting,” Brummitt said.

Brummitt’s comments referred to a statement by Wright, who brought the non-agenda item forward for consideration, that Granville County had approved a resolution concerning voter ID. Granville’s recent resolution at the time was concerning early voting.

“They had not passed anything, and they were not passing anything on voter ID,” Hester said. “They were looking at passing something on early voting.”

Further comments by Wright regarding regulations related to voter ID laws were also incorrect.

“As it stands now the only ID that they will accept is North Carolina ID,” said Wright during April’s board meeting. “If you have a college ID that’s not good enough.”

When the voter ID proposal was unveiled in early April, it stated eight forms of government-issued ID would be accepted, with limited exceptions for no photo ID being required.

“In all the years I have been voting, I have always wondered why we haven’t been asked for an ID,” Wilder said. “I could always see a potential for fraud.”

Like Ayscue, Wilder could not recall a time when commissioners passed a resolution not in writing.

“I’ve never seen it,” Wilder said. “It was one reason I voted against it that night, too.

“It was a little interesting, but we’ll work together on it.”

According to Ayscue, the resolution drafted remains like the verbal resolution, in opposition to proposed changes in current voting requirements.

“The draft resolution that I’m waiting to get feedback on, it basically says the board of commissioners does not support any changes in the current voter registration laws,” Ayscue said.

Garrison, who voted for approval of the verbal resolution, is eager to see the written draft be sent to Raleigh.

“I thought it would have been sent on, but it looks like it may be coming back for approval,” Garrison said. “Unfortunately there’s been, there were some miscues, and missteps that caused that delay.

“We’re trying to get it there in time, but it looks real iffy at this point.”

Garrison feels commissioners who voted in favor of the verbal resolution will likely hold their stance for approval of the draft resolution Wednesday afternoon.

“Those persons who voted for the resolution are aware of the content of the resolution, and I think all agree that the resolution that has been drafted does express our position on the voter ID subject,” Garrison said.

According to Hester, the board’s decision to pass the resolution opposing the proposed voter ID bill will be determined on Wednesday.

“Which way we go as far as the voter ID resolution will be based on that meeting,” Hester said. “How can you vote to pass something, and then write something else up later?

“You can’t do that. I strictly want things in writing so I can look at it.”

Attempts to reach Brown and Taylor for comment on this story through phone messages and email were unsuccessful.


Contact the writer at abentely@hendersondispatch.com.