South Carolina’s controversial voter ID law will be in the spotlight today as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder addresses a crowd of marchers honoring the life and work of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the State House. The state, since 2000, has commemorated the life of the civil rights leader with an NAACP-led march to the State House. This year’s King Day at the Dome, beginning with an 8:30 a.m. prayer service at Zion Baptist Church, also will feature NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous. South Carolina’s passage, and the U.S. Justice Department’s subsequent rejection of, a controversial voter ID law last year has sparked a rancorous political fight and put the state on a collision course with Washington over state and federal powers.The courts may ultimately resolve the standoff.
South Carolina’s law would require voters to show a state-issued photo identification card to be able to cast a ballot in an election. As in several other Republican-led states, the S.C. General Assembly alleged voter fraud in passing the legislation, signed into law by Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.
South Carolina Democrats have insisted the new requirements are frivolous because voter fraud has not been a problem here. The Justice Department’s rejection of the law means the state’s standard voter ID requirements in place prior to the photo ID law are still in place. Haley has said the state would appeal the federal decision.