what’s next with South Carolina voter id law?

South Carolina as a state with minority discrimination history had to get pre clearance from Department of Justice to apply ammendement to the election laws. Proposed law requires state issued photo identification in order to cast a ballot. Bill sponsors and supporters argued it would improve voting process integrity while preventing fraud. Amendment contesters said fraud have been very rare and insignificant while as many as 600000 registred voters don’t have proper identification. The state offered free photo id cards for voting but the problem of supporting documentation remained as getting a birth certificate might require lawyer’s office assistance which wouln’t be reimbursed by the state.
Based on state’s own data DOJ denied pre clearance on Dec 23rd 2011 based on risk that new legislation would mostly affect minorities and their right to vote.
South Carolina wants to appeal from DOJ decision and the case will most likely have it’s final stage in the US Supreme Court. The case is highly partisan as the legislation was sponsored by Republicans and DOJ is considered a part of Obama administration. Yesterday 3 high profile politicians promised to file a suit against DOJ in few weeks. Attorney General Alan Wilson said “Our intent of the office is to look at this legislation through the litigation process and to ensure that no voter is suppressed in the right to vote and that the integrity of the electoral process is protected, (…) That is of paramount importance that we protect the electoral process and ensure that voter irregularities and potential voter fraud is curtailed, curbed or prevented.” Wilson got support from Gov. Nikki Haley and House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

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