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UPDATED: SC, Attorney General Alan Wilson Plead Voter ID Case

South Carolina makes the case for its Voter ID law before a panel in Washington, D.C., this week.

UPDATED (8 p.m. Aug. 27, 2012): After a day spent in federal court, Attorney General Alan Wilson held a conference call with the media.

Wilson was joined in Washington, D.C. by Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Sen. Chip Campson (R – Charleston) and Rep. Alan Clemmons (R – Horry).  Campson and Clemmons took the stand and Clemmons will continue his testimony on Tuesday.

Wilson immediately defended the Voter ID law against charges that it would suppress the vote of the poor and minorities, groups that tend to vote Democratic.

“The bill does not change the requirements for registering to vote. Citizens can get an ID free of charge at their nearest election office,” Wilson said.

Wilson also noted that even if voters show up at a polling station on Election Day without an ID, they can vote if they fill out an impediment affidavit which grants an immediate waiver to the voter ID criteria. “That is the ultimate safety net in my opinion,” Wilson said.

Wilson also responded to critics who think the bill will limit turnout in general. “There is no evidence of (voter suppression),” Wilson said. “In fact it’s quite the contrary, voter turnout has actually increased in areas where voter ID laws have passed.

What there is also little evidence of is actual voter fraud. A recent report found just 10 examples of fraud across the entire country since 2000. View the report here.

The level of fraud in the report would affect one out of every 15 million voters.

South Carolina has approximately 2.7 million voters. Assuming that there was 100 percent turnout (it rarely exceeds 60 percent) the voter ID law would prevent voter fraud once every five years.

As a result of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, South Carolina is one of the states that must get approval from the Department of Justice before passing any election laws.

ORIGINAL STORY (8 a.m. Aug. 27, 2012): South Carolina's 2011 Voter ID law, struck down last year by the Department of Justice, gets its chance in court this week.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, who filed suit against the DOJ and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, will plead the state's case to a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C.

The DOJ struck down the law, which requires photo identification cards for anyone who tries to vote, on the grounds that it does not adequately protect voters from discrimination.

However, South Carolina and Wilson have argued that several states' laws already enacted are very similar, and the cards can be obtained for free from the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

The state’s Voter I.D. law was passed in 2011, and requires voters to show photo identification.  The identification can be obtained free of charge from the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

“South Carolina’s photo identification law does not bar anyone from voting, but merely imposes on voters a responsibility to obtain an approved photo identification card and to bring it to the polls,” claims the South Carolina suit.

For a history of the fight over the law, and what other states have passed, read this piece by Reuters on the Chicago Tribune website.

Tom Utley November 14, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I agree that minorities are very competent (moreso than the government gives them credit for) but I really don't understand any of your post. I personally am not a fan of Democracy at all, and I don't think anybody who gets a paycheck from the government should be able to vote. They basically are voting for their own salary, by stealing from other people. This includes everyone associated with the government, from the President on down, and the military, teachers, IRS agents, Defense Contractors, welfare recipients, medicaid, social security, heck even people who own stock in companies that receive corporate welfare. I don't see how requiring proof of identification to vote is "voter suppression." It's pretty clearly not. It is "unregistered voter suppression" and "inelegible voter suppression." So all this talk about hurting the elderly and minorities is just nonsense.
Robert Kelly November 14, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Stanley is right on when he argues that the arguments in favor of tighter voter restrictions are diversions. And this is an enormous waste of taxpayer money to fight for something intended to solve a problem that doesn't exist. Regardless, the straw man argument is still disingenuous. People with a driver's license claim it is the normal state of being, and therefore everyone should have one, and what's the big deal! Well, you don't have to have a driver's license if you don't want one, and if you are an adult without one, getting this picture voter ID is not the piece of cake they are suggesting. DMV is a tough agency. You want an ID from them...you better have your social security card (why?), you better have your birth certificate or passport, you better have a utility bill clearly stating your name and address. And if you printed it off your computer/printer because you do your banking and utility-paying online (like everyone wants you to in order to reduce costs and save paper), it is not acceptable. What if the utilities are in someone else's name (a roommate, or even a spouse)? You could be out of luck. What if you lost the social security card you received so many decades ago (or your parents lost it)? What if ... ? None of which should deny you the right to vote! How many hoops can you make people, generally people who don't have a SC driver's license, jump through? Of course, without that license it is a lot harder to round up the other stuff. Voting RIGHTS!
Robert Kelly November 14, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Tom,, would that include people who receive any kind of tax deduction as well, since in a sense they are receiving money from the government by not paying taxes on their income? I have to admit, your vision would make elections a whole lot faster and eliminate the lines. There would be hardly anyone at all allowed to vote! You have a a great point, all those sneaky government workers putting in 40 hours a week delivering services (fighting fires, arresting bad guys, forecasting the weather, teaching kids how to read and do arithmetic, are really just thieves in the night. Why should we be paying them at all, and since we are, why should they have any say in how the country is managed! I appreciate your honesty about not being a fan of democracy, but I think you were outvoted on that for this country.
Tom Utley November 14, 2012 at 02:53 PM
No. Tax deductions are simply a means for you to have less of your life stolen from you. Because after all, you earn money by spending time doing something productive, and that time is time out of your life that you could have been doing something else. Also, I don't hold anything against people who get a paycheck from the government, I just don't think they should be able to vote. It is a conflict of interests. I mean I have no choice in how much of my money is stolen to fund their jobs, as opposed to the voluntary sector where if a company does something I disagree with, I simply don't spend my money with them. But I do understand why people work for the government. The government holds a coercive monopoly over many areas of our society, so people have limited career options as a result. I think people see voting as a "right" and that is just wrong. Voting is a privilege that our masters give us. It is a "subject's suggestion box."
stanley seigler November 14, 2012 at 06:18 PM
@Tom Utley re: I really don't understand any of your post. we're even...i dont understand most of posts...weel hear what you say...but dont begin to know where you are coming from...very few if any of yo opines bare any resemblance to reality or basis in fact. re: I don't see how requiring proof of identification to vote is "voter suppression." ...all this talk about hurting the elderly and minorities is just nonsense. yo comments here are a prime example of: your opine bares little, if any, semblance to reality... 'none so blind as those who will not see.' help me to better communicate...eg, just what is it you dont understand about you not addressing the issue of voter suppression...instead address the ease of obtaining an voterID... to argue it is NOT voter suppression: first show there is voter fraud at the ballot box...you should share any proof you have with SC AG...he found none...why? cause there is NONE. second if you have no proof; then show how one would commit fraud at the ballot box under current law, if election officials do their job fraud is impossible...if you have a way, please share. your comment re ease of obtaining is a straw man...begs the issue...does NOT provide evidence of fraud or how one would commit fraud under current law...

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