Editorial: All aboard the resolution railroad

Apr. 13, 2013 @ 10:24 PM

What is in the resolution is not what matters. Although, even the commissioners who voted don’t know.

Monday night, in its regular meeting, Vance County commissioners voted to send a resolution to the N.C. General Assembly. The commission is opposed to voter identification.

Nothing was in writing, and not a single commissioner questioned that point before or after voting.

Three were against — Gordon Wilder, Dan Brummitt and Tommy Hester, the chairman. Eddie Wright, on the commission since 2000, brought the non-agenda item forward and Hall of Fame commissioner Terry Garrison, vice chairman Deborah Brown and rookie Archie Taylor joined him voting for it.

Shame on all seven.

The commissioners failed to transparently represent their constituents, exercised a lack of judgment and were hypocritical — all in one fell swoop. It only took a matter of minutes in a nearly three-hour long session of elected leaders.

Few resolutions, an estimated 1 percent by the chairman’s guess, go before the governing body of our county without appearing first both in writing and on the agenda.

But that wasn’t the last fumble. Wright told everyone the legislation only allowed “North Carolina ID” and wouldn’t allow college students to use their college-issued IDs.

In fact, UNC system students and community college students can use their campus IDs. All totaled, there are eight forms of government-issued photo identification or a tribal ID card that are acceptable, plus other limited exceptions.

And this is the same body openly questioning two reports presented to them as lacking information earlier in the same meeting.

There’s more.

Asked who to send the resolution to, Wright said, “Just like Granville County did, they went on record, if you’ve seen their resolution they went on record opposing voter ID.”

Granville hasn’t done one. They did resolve to ask for early voting rules to remain unchanged.

And finally, perception puts Wright under a cloud of suspicion. It looks like Wright had the votes, bypassed the agenda for his resolution and didn’t bother preparing something for the public to see in advance. If the four met to confirm those votes, open meeting law would have been violated.

We’re disappointed. The public’s trust has been fractured.

All in a matter of minutes.