North Carolina governor vetoes controversial voter ID bill

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Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a bill that would require photographic identification to vote in North Carolina.

Cooper made the announcement on Senate Bill 824 Friday afternoon.

"Requiring photo IDs for in-person voting is a solution in search of a problem. Instead, the real election problem is votes harvested illegally through absentee ballots, which this proposal fails to fix," Cooper said. ""In addition, the proposed law puts up barriers to voting that will trap honest voters in confusion and discourage them with new rules, some of which haven't even been written yet."

The North Carolina General Assembly finalized legislation implementing the voter photo identification mandate approved in a statewide referendum last month. Cooper has been a staunch opponent to the proposal.

"The fundamental flaw in the bill is its sinister and cynical origins: It was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters. The cost of disenfranchising those voters or any citizens is too high, and the risk of taking away the fundamental right to vote is too great, for this law to take effect."

State House Speaker Time Moore (R-Cleveland) said the governor's decision "accused a majority of North Carolina voters of 'sinister' motives" in supporting the bill.

The Senate voted 25-7 on Thursday to accept House changes. Republicans in charge of the legislature can override a Cooper veto if they stay united.

Senate Democrats urged GOP colleagues to delay the vote until an investigation into absentee ballot fraud in the 9th Congressional District is complete. The measure directs state election officials to set rules requiring mail-in ballot requesters to provide ID.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.