Multiple marriages have played havoc with Massachusetts transplant Andrea Tangredi’s hopes of getting a South Carolina driver’s license. During a Monday rally for foes of the new S.C. voter ID law, Andrea Tangredi tells of her experience at the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles when she tried to get her driver’s license changed from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Tangredi still is trying to get her new South Carolina driver’s license along with her voter-registration card.
By her count, Tangredi has spent at least 17 hours online and in person since July trying to get a license here, only to face hurdle after hurdle tied to her several name changes. On Monday she asked aloud that if it is this hard to get a South Carolina driver’s license, how much more difficult is it to get documentation for a voter ID? “I’m educated,” she said during a forum sponsored by opponents of the state’s new voter ID law. “I don’t know how someone who isn’t would want to ever start this process.”
Tangredi’s story gives ammunition to opponents of the ID law, who in addition to labeling the effort harmful to minorities, say it is creating unnecessary burdens and hardships. She was one of about 50 people who attended a rally against the law held at the International Longshoremen’s Association hall in Charleston.
Once the law goes into effect, the following are acceptable forms of photo ID to present at the polls:
- S.C. driver’s license or state-issued ID card from the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Military ID
- South Carolina voter photo-registration card, which is not yet available. The state Election Commission does not yet have the capability to produce them but hopes to by October.
Among those at the forum was former state Rep. Lucille Whipper, a Charleston Democrat, who said requiring a photo identification card to vote raises the burden on minorities, low-income wage earners and those working multiple jobs. She accused supporters of the photo ID effort of trying to exclude minorities by expanding a voting base made up mainly of the middle class. “They are trying to change the electorate,” she said.
The photo ID law was passed by the General Assembly this year and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley. Its goal, backers said, is to cut down on fraud. It requires a voter to present a driver’s license, passport or other form of photo identification to cast a ballot. Before the law can take effect, it must receive clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice, which has until the end of the month to finish its review. Last week, opponents looking to derail the effort wrote the department’s Voting Rights Section, saying the law is “racially discriminatory and will have a retrogressive impact on the voting rights of minorities” in the state.
Monday’s rally was sponsored by the S.C. Progressive Network and the Charleston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Progressive Network Director Brett Bursey said the goal was to update the public on efforts to halt the law from being enforced. “We can clearly argue the intent of the bill is voter suppression,” Bursey said.