|Rep. Ray Russell
It would do much to alleviate the recent disenfranchisement of college students (and college/university employees) across the state, primarily because no longer would the college be responsible for taking the actual photos. The last clause in the title above refers to more flexibility for local BOEs to set up early voting sites for municipal elections. Gerry Cohen, our guru on election matters, tweeted on April 9, "It looks like a good bill."
Ray Russell of Watauga County has been a prime mover on this issue from the beginning of the crisis, joined by Zack Hawkins of Durham. They're both primary sponsors. Powerful Republican Chair of the Rules Committee, David Lewis, also signed on and actually introduced the bill, which accounts for those Republican votes (along with the creeping fear that the entire law could be thrown out by an advancing lawsuit if drastic action isn't taken).
All attention now turns to the Senate. Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine), one of the co-chairs of the Redistricting and Elections Committee in the Senate, had already said he liked the original law just like it was, but WRAL reported that he may have moved a little. He said "he has some questions about the bill, including language on confirming the identities of people whose ID's have self-taken pictures." Another co-chair of that committee, Sen. Warren Daniel of Burke County, said that the House and Senate agree on "the broad strokes" of Lewis' bill. Whatever that means.
Perhaps the chances of getting this "fix" through the NC Senate have improved. We've never felt sanguine about that prospect, but we're prepared to be amazed.