New numbers from the state Election Commission out late Tuesday show approximately 217,000 South Carolina voters don’t have a photo identification, which could be required if the U.S. Justice Department approves the state law.
That’s up from 178,000 voters without the ID in January 2010. The commission initially compared its voter lists with DMV records at legislators’ request. It re-compared the lists to comply with the law signed in May, which requires each of those voters to be notified. The update also answers a question from the U.S. Department of Justice, which is reviewing the law.
The Department of Motor Vehicles says nearly 700 people have called about getting a free ride to get a photo identification card to comply with South Carolina’s new voter ID law. According to the DMV, only 25 rides are scheduled for the one-day only free ride program, happening Wednesday, and most of the people who called the DMV were not interested in getting a ride.
“The vast majority of the calls we received were from citizens who simply wanted to know what they had to do to get an identification card,” said DMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. And it wasnt about politics. It was about helping people get the photo IDs they need to conduct business in their everyday lives.”
In late August, Gov. Nikki Haley unveiled the free-ride program during a news conference with DMV director Kevin Shwedo, telling voters they could call to schedule a ride to their local DMV office.. Residents had to qualify by September 22.
Despite the low turnout for the program, Haley feels she is helping alleviate the problem.