The next time N.C. voters go to the polls, they may have to offer more than their names and signatures. They might need a photo ID.
Republicans who take control of the General Assembly in January want to make North Carolina the 10th state requiring voters to show a driver's license or other photo ID. House leaders hope to pass a bill in their first 100 days.
Supporters call it a common-sense way to avoid voter fraud.
"It's necessary to ensure the integrity of the entire system," says GOP Rep. Ric Killian, a Charlotte Republican who sponsored a similar measure in 2009.
Skeptics fear it would dampen turnout, particularly among the elderly and disadvantaged, who tend to vote Democratic. Some say it's simply unnecessary.
"It's largely addressing a problem that doesn't exist," says Chris Kromm, executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham. "You have a greater chance of getting struck by lightning than having a case of voter fraud."
But use of voter IDs is growing.
Since 2003, 12 states have enacted some form of ID requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition to the nine states that demand a photo ID, 18 others require some form of identification.
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