To the Editor:
As an advocate for seniors and senior services, I find I am more and more concerned about the Voter ID bill that was introduced in the state Senate by Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine). I absolutely believe that any case of voter fraud, when discovered, should be prosecuted, but I think more thought should be put into the process before passing a bill that would hinder our seniors from using the one right every American citizen is afforded – the right to vote.
According to facts I have read, votes per million cast in North Carolina from 2004 to 2010 that involved fraud that a Voter ID law would have prevented is five. With a state budget that must be balanced by law, why would our elected representatives want to add so much more to the deficit. My understanding is the potential cost of a comprehensive voter ID program in North Carolina would be around $20 million. I have read that the annual cost to each county in Maryland to hire and train elections’ officials to examine IDs of voters is $95,000.
Our county governments are also strapped to the max. The cost of outreach efforts about Voter ID laws to avoid voter confusion and make sure legitimate voters aren’t turned away at the polls has been estimated at an additional $16.9 million.
At a time when cuts to our senior programs and services may be forthcoming at both the federal and state level, I would think these projected Voter ID funds could be better spent to help our seniors, who are already struggling with escalating costs of everything, and no cost of living adjustment for the past two years. I hope our elected representatives would think long and hard before passing this legislation.