South Carolinians on both sides of the voter-identification battle claimed victory in a federal court ruling in 2012. The statute requiring voters to present state-approved photo identification in order to cast ballots in elections and primaries was upheld by a panel of three federal judges. Enforcement was delayed until after the 2012 election. Republicans were happy because the GOP-dominated Legislature had its efforts vindicated, with the judges finding no discriminatory intent behind the law. Democrats were happy because the law challenged by the U.S. Justice Department as discriminatory to minorities and the elderly did not impact Election Day 2012. Important now is how the new law is being applied in the state. No one is screaming because the court diluted the ID requirement. In virtually any instance, a voter is able to cast a ballot. Judges made clear that ensuring just that was integral to their decision.
The judges noted the law allows voters to show a driver’s license, ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, a newly created voter registration card with a photo, a passport or military ID.
But a voter without photo identification is not to be turned away. “Any reason asserted by the voter … for not having a photo ID must be accepted,” unless false, and the “ballot counted,” the judges said.
While the national verdict on voter ID laws remains out, with some states’ laws being rejected by the federal courts, South Carolina moves ahead.
Or at least we thought so.
The S.C. Legislature is back at work again on voting laws, this time revisiting the issue of early voting, which was jettisoned from voter-ID legislation despite one-time agreement between Republicans and Democrats that early voting would be part of an election-reform package.
Full Article: S.C. House throws its vote behind limited voting.