COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Senate has passed legislation that will require voters to show photo identification in order to cast a ballot. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle statistics show that nearly 180,000 voters in South Carolina – most of whom are elderly, student, minority or low-income voters – will be disenfranchised as a result of this discriminatory bill. Proponents of the bill claim the voter ID requirement will curb in-person election fraud. The South Carolina Election Commission, however, reports that no cases of fraud exist.
Voter ID bills have been introduced across the country this legislative season, but South Carolina is only the second state to pass legislation this year. The state becomes one of only four, along with Georgia, Indiana and Kansas, to require voters to present photo identification at the polls. The bill will now go to Gov. Nikki Haley, who is expected to sign it into law.
The following can be attributed to Victoria Middleton, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina:
“We hope that Gov. Haley will veto this bill and tell South Carolina lawmakers that we should be seeking ways to encourage more voters, not inventing excuses to deny voters the ability to cast their ballots. This bill sends a clear message that you shouldn’t be allowed to vote unless you can afford a photo ID and the documents needed to get one. No citizen should have to pay to vote. Such an assault on basic American principles is not only unconstitutional, it’s unconscionable.”
The following can be attributed to Katie O’Connor, staff attorney of the ACLU Voting Rights Project:
“Nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote. Rather than erecting hurdles that prevent Americans from voting, lawmakers should ensure that every eligible voter is allowed to vote and that every vote counts. Claims of election fraud are both misguided and inaccurate and are only a distraction from what is really a coordinated effort to suppress the voting rights of thousands of eligible voters.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.