Editorial: Proving argument got tougher

Aug. 13, 2013 @ 06:19 PM

Burden of proof shifted Monday.

While the spotlight and chatter will be highest for that burden falling on voters, we’d argue the voters’ job will be much easier to prove than will that of Democrats who opposed House Bill 589.

That’s the law Gov. Pat McCrory signed requiring all North Carolinians to present a government-issued photo identification at the polls beginning with the 2016 election.

For the vast majority, that’s not going to be a problem. We’re asked to do that when picking up medicine, tickets at will call, filling out government forms, or at any other number of places.

There is a segment of our society without valid proof of identification, including an estimated fair number here in the Tri-County. Democrats have argued this segment of our population has been targeted by the Republican-led majority in the General Assembly and will be suppressed.

The theory goes, voters have been given more ease in which to become registered. They’ve been able to cast ballots outside the non-traditional Tuesday window. And both of these facts have enabled voter turnout to increase.

We believe Republicans could have done themselves a favor. Their grounds, the battle cry that got the most volume, was suspicion of voter fraud.

Backed into a corner to prove voter fraud was happening, evidence was little. And they used that fact — as in, “How can we know?” — as proof of their argument. Few were buying.

Still, with the majority in both chambers and a red seat in the governor’s mansion, voter ID is reality. As polls close in the 2016 election, more attention will be on turnout than voter fraud in the next day story alongside the winners and losers.

That’s where Democrats will have a tough time proving their argument.

Given the volume and scope of rallies that still are not done, we believe Democrats will have no trouble meeting this and any other future voting measure implemented by a Republican-led state government.

That’s not to suggest a win for either side.

But we’ll go on a limb and predict voter turnout in 2016 will set records, buoyed by turnout from Democrats and those they said in 2013 were being suppressed.