South Carolina’s new voter photo identification law appears to be hitting black precincts in the state the hardest, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
For instance, nearly half the voters who cast ballots at a historically black college in Columbia lack state-issued photo identification and could face problems voting in next year’s presidential election, according to the analysis of precinct-level data provided by the state Election Commission. The U.S. Justice Department has been reviewing the law for months under the federal Voting Rights Act.
South Carolina’s photo identification law requires people to show a South Carolina driver’s license or identification card, a military ID or passport when they vote. Without those forms of identification, they can still cast a provisional ballot or vote absentee.
The analysis shows that among the state’s 2,134 precincts there are 10 precincts where nearly all of the law’s affect falls on nonwhite voters who don’t have a state-issued driver’s license or ID card, a total of 1,977 voters.
The same holds true for white voters in a number of precincts, but the overall effect is much more spread out and involves fewer total voters: There are 44 precincts where only white voters are affected, or 1,831 people in all.
The precinct that votes at Benedict College’s campus center has 2,790 voters, including nine white voters. In that precinct, 1,343 of the precinct’s nonwhite voters lack state identification but only five white voters. They account for 48 percent of the precinct’s voters. Benedict is not alone.