Controversy surrounds commission's voter ID resolution

April 18, 2012 2:18:32 PM PDT
A Wake County commissioner has called out the chairman of the board, saying he's playing politics where he shouldn't be.

The situation all stems from a resolution which commissioners voted 4 to 3 to approve Monday. It supports a now dead bill in the General Assembly that would have forced voters to show identification at the polls.

Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed the bill last June. Despite that veto, Republican Wake County Commission Chairman Paul Coble backed the county resolution. He said it sends a message to legislators.

"We're in charge of making sure elections are run in the county in a fair and proper way," said Coble. "And we do have a legislative agenda that we send to the legislature. We deal with them on a regular basis on issues."

Despite Coble's claim, Democratic Commissioner Ervin Portman saw other motives behind the resolution. He accused Coble of using the effort to support his run for congress. Portman said the board has no business in meddling in matters outside the county.

"We don't have authority to change voter ID laws in the state," said Portman. "That's done by the state legislature. It's not our job. So in my mind, it's a waste of time."

Coble insisted the resolution is legitimate, and said he isn't using it as part of his political campaign.

Last month, the board of commissioners voted to support another proposed state measure, a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

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