Republican state senators want to make it easier for people to opt out of the state’s new voter ID law – just not too easy.
Republicans tried Thursday to advance a bill that would allow voters to opt out of showing a photo ID at the polls if they signed a document saying why they had a “reasonable impediment” to getting one. State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, tried to amend the bill further to say that state and county officials may not “review the reasonableness of the voter’s explanation” as to why they could not get a photo ID.
But Republicans said Sheheen’s amendment would gut the voter ID law, which Republicans say is needed to eliminate fraudulent voting and Democrats say is intended to suppress minority turnout. In response to Sheheen’s amendment, Republicans vowed to keep the bill in subcommittee until the Democrat agreed to remove his amendment.
“I have no desire whatsoever, as chairman of the (Judiciary) Committee, to mount another major and … acrimonious debate in this committee or on the floor about voter ID,” said state Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens. “We’ve had it. If we can’t fix this without an acrimonious debate, it’s over. This bill stays right here.”