With The Black Eyed Peas blaring, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill Wednesday requiring people to show photo identification to vote, as opponents pledged to fight it through the U.S. Justice Department. Haley arrived at the bill signing with the hip-hop group’s “I Gotta Feeling” playing in the background, as Republican legislators and tea party activists crowded around her at the Statehouse.
“It’s another great day in the state of South Carolina,” Haley said to cheers and applause. “We are going to make sure we maintain the integrity of the election system. We’re gonna do it by saying, if you can show pictures to buy Sudafed, if you can show a picture to get on an airplane, you should be able to show a picture to make sure we do what is incredibly inherent in our freedoms and that’s the ability to vote.”
The signing came after three years of debate. Republicans have argued the law is crucial to deter election fraud.
“People in South Carolina will know that their right is protected and we know the person casting the vote is in fact the person casting the vote,” said House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston.
Democrats countered it will suppress the vote of poor, disabled and elderly voters who lack a driver’s license. Shortly after Haley signed the bill, opponents – some of them wearing stickers that read “Photo ID (equals) poll tax” – held a separate news conference, and criticized Haley’s rock-star entrance. They called the law a politically pushed piece of voter suppression.