I noticed Tom Sullivan's post on BlueNC about the Voter Information Verification Act and decided to do a bit of digging.
In the post, he quotes a Greensboro News and Record piece that says a voter id card would wind up costing $20-$32.
It would actually cost more than that.
According to the NC DOT website, you'll need two documents to document your name, date and place of birth. These include a driver's license (which you probably won't have if you need an id card), school documents, a US military ID, court documents or several other items.
The most common is a certified birth certificate.
If you're a native of NC and haven't moved from area you're born, you can probably go by the county courthouse and get the document there, paying the appropriate fees.
However, if getting to the courthouse is inconvenient, then you can use a commercial service - http://www.vitalchek.com/.
The way it works is that you can pay a fee to get a certified copy of your birth certificate sent to a government agency - about 300 Federal and state government agencies, in fact.
The cost? $39.00 plus $12.70. Plus shipping.
It might not seem like much, but you get a few hundred thousand new orders and it can add up for your quarterly bottom line.
The company is owned by LexusNexis, which is part of Reed Elsiver, a firm that publishes academic journals. Oh, and up until April 2012, they were a member of ALEC, but resigned because of pressure from academics that were concerned about the company's funding of climate change denial propaganda.
So ... has LexisNexis been doing some lobbying around the NC and other statehouses to pick up a few bucks with voter ID laws?
Could it be someone else?
Another player in online certified birth certificates is www.usbirthcertificate.com - it's listed at the Better Business Bureau with a D- rating and several consumer complaints. It's owned by a "Jason Stevens" in Houston, Texas and has been in business since 1997. Stevens also operates online visa and passport processing services.
I didn't find any political contributions at the FEC from Stevens - he might be a donor to one of the "dark money" groups out there.
There's also several scam sites out there. One is Express Vitals - a BBB complaint page on that company notes that the site takes your info and impersonates you at the LexisNexis site to get the certificate there, charging you a fee on top of what LexisNexis charges. I couldn't even find the name of who actually owns that site.
Progressives and liberals "on the ground" should pay attention to what Republican organizers are telling constituents that need to get a certified certificate for a voter id - if they mention some specific online services, that might give us some clues on what company or scam artists are lobbying for these laws and looking to make a few bucks.