There are too many holes in N.C.’s voter registration system

-A A +A
By Staff Brunswick Beacon

There are problems with North Carolina’s voter registration system. In its current form, the process has too many holes, making it far too easy for those who want to take advantage of the system.

Voter fraud is a very real problem in this country and more needs to be done—especially right here in North Carolina—to make that more difficult to happen.

The sad thing is, there is not an effective system in place that regularly keeps tabs on voter registration logs. Changes only happen when someone—like former Bald Head Island Mayor Larry Lammert—takes the time, initiative and financial expense to challenge potential voter problems.

Problems start at the beginning of the process, when a potential voter fills out a voter registration form. Of the full-page document, only seven areas are required to be completed, one of which is a signature. Those filling out the form are asked if they have a N.C. driver’s license or Social Security number but they are not required to provide it.

And although the form indicates providing false information is a Class I felony, it is difficult to enforce and challenges to voter registration rarely happen.

It’s setting up a system from the get-go is bound to be taken advantage of.

Problems with the system continue right up to Election Day. First-time voters who register by mail are required to provide identification the first time they vote. That is something mandated by the Help America Vote Act, however, after that, all you have to do is show up, give a name, sign a form and you’re free to vote.

You’re not ask to provide information that proves you are, in fact, the person you say you are.

Yes, voting is a right and one that is guaranteed free of intimidation, but it should be a protected right, not one that any Joe Schmo can take advantage of.

Twenty-five states require voters provide identification to vote. North Carolina is not among them. We should be.

Here in Brunswick County, we have many second-home owners who have permanent residences elsewhere. It would be easy for voters with multiple addresses to be doubly registered.

What system is in place now to guarantee people aren’t voting in two locations? We don’t see there is one.

In small communities like ours, especially during a municipal election, even a few improperly registered voters could sway an election.

Think about how many close races we’ve had in recent history.

In November, three votes decided who would serve as mayor of Bald Head Island. Just two votes decided the composition of board of commissioners for Holden Beach. If even a few of those voters were improperly registered it could have changed the outcome of those races and the political make-up of governing bodies.

That’s not the way this should happen.

The N.C. General Assembly needs to reform its voter registration laws and requirements, and the sooner the better.