Dr. Brenda Williams, who grew up in the segregated South, has spent 30 years helping patients register to vote. She considers the state’s new voter ID law a reminder of when blacks were forced to sit in the back of the bus. “It is a way of disenfranchisement of certain segments of our society, primarily African-Americans, the elderly, and the indigent,” Williams said in an interview in her office in Sumter, halfway between Columbia and Charleston. “It is very sad to see our legislators try to turn the clock back,” she said. In all, 85,000 registered voters in South Carolina are without the kind of ID that would be required under the new law, according a vetting of the voter rolls by the state’s department of motor vehicles.
According to the state’s own data, blacks in South Carolina are 20 percent more likely than whites to lack a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID. The Justice Department flagged that statistic as evidence that the new law would be discriminatory and blocked it from taking effect under the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In addition, many older blacks, born outside of hospitals during segregation, don’t even possess a birth certificate, which is required to get a license or state-issued photo ID.
“The issue is that valid birth certificate,” said Williams’ husband, Joe, who shares her medical practice and critical view of the law. Without a photo ID, obtaining your birth certificate in South Carolina costs $30, plus shipping costs, and double that if you were born out of state. “This is a poll tax. This is requiring people to pay money to cast a ballot, and I don’t think we want that in this country,” Joe said.
Full Article: S.C. votes without new voter ID law – CBS News.