Publisher's note: The author of this post is Barry Smith, who is an associate editor for the Carolina Journal, John Hood Publisher.
Measure would require verification from state and local election boards; House elections chief skeptical
RALEIGH State Rep. Verla Insko is hoping to make voter registration in North Carolina as easy as visiting a website.
Insko, D-Orange, has filed a bill
that would allow North Carolinians who are eligible to vote to register to vote, so long as the resident has either a North Carolina driver's license or an identification card issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles.
"I think it's just a matter of time before we have online voter registration,"
Insko said. "More and more, we're going to be looking at digital solutions. This is a logical next step."
Currently, North Carolinians may obtain a registration form online but must print a copy, sign it, and then mail it to the local board of elections.
House Bill 1032 would require the State Board of Elections to set up a secure site allowing online registration. In addition to voter registration, the bill would also allow voters to report a change of name, address, or party affiliation.
Each county board of elections, in conjunction with the state board, would be required to verify the driver's license or Social Security number of any online applicant and search for possible duplicate registrations. Elections officials also would have to verify the applicant's address.
If the application doesn't check out, the state board would be required to notify the applicant of the problem and offer other options for registration.
Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, co-chairman of the House Elections Committee, wasn't too keen on the online registration idea.
"I don't think there's a need for online voter registration at this time,"
Lewis said. "And I don't see that this adds anything to the integrity of the election system."
Lewis pointed out that the application can be downloaded and sent in with the applicant's "wet ink" signature. He also said there are a number of other ways a person can register to vote.
Insko said about 35 other states have "something similar" to her proposal for online registration, and that she's hoping to get discussion started on the issue in North Carolina. "I'm hoping it will get a committee hearing,"