A lawyer for South Carolia said on Monday there are plenty of reasons voters would be able to sidestep the state’s voter ID law if a panel of federal judges allows it to take effect this year, but laziness is not among them. While defending the state’s voting law during closing arguments in federal court here, attorney H. Christopher Bartolomucci said voters could offer any number of reasons for showing up to the polls without a government-issued photo ID. However, he added, those who simply say they “didn’t feel like” it will be turned away. South Carolina is among the states that must have changes to their voting laws cleared by either the Justice Department or a panel of judges in D.C. under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The state wants its voter ID law to go into effect for the November election.
Lawyers for the state have argued officials there will broadly interpret the so-called “reasonable impediment” provision of the law, which allow voters to cast a ballot if they attest something outside of their control prevented them from obtaining photo identification. The provision is the “only reason this would work for 2012,” Bartolomucci said. But he also added there was a limit to the kinds of reasons voters could give about why they lacked a photo ID.
“That’s a personal choice. That’s not a reasonable impediment. That’s not an obstacle,” Bartolomucci said of the “I didn’t feel like it” excuse, adding that “Mars is made of green cheese” wouldn’t count either. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, however, said she wasn’t buying the metaphor. “That doesn’t help,” she told Bartolomucci of the Mars comparison.