Free Markets, Free People

voter law

DoJ rejects South Carolina voter ID law

With a tight election in the offing, it comes as no surprise to me that the DoJ has decided to begin getting interested in voter ID laws in certain swing states where it can.  South Carolina is one of those:

The Obama administration entered the fierce national debate over voting rights, rejecting South Carolina’s new law requiring photo identification at the polls and saying it discriminated against minority voters.

Friday’s decision by the Justice Department could heighten political tensions over eight state voter ID statutes passed this year, which critics say could hurt turnout among minorities and others who helped elect President Obama in 2008. Conservatives and other supporters say the tighter laws are needed to combat voter fraud.

Two of the things that the left constantly claims when such measures are passed is it is A) it will mostly cause an adverse effect among minorities and B) there’s no evidence of voting fraud.

We’ve dealt with “A” before.  If you write a check, buy liquor or any of a myriad of different transactions throughout the year, you are asked or required to produce a valid state issued ID.  Does that adversely effect the ability of minorities to write checks or buy alcohol?  Then there’s driving.  No license, no driving.  It’s a nonsensical argument.  And most states issue free photo IDs to those who don’t drive.

As for “B”, it’s rather hard to prove fraud when anyone on two legs can walk up and vote without having to prove they are who they say they are, isn’t it?

In any case, here is the existing SC law:

When any person presents himself to vote, he shall produce his valid South Carolina driver’s license or other form of identification containing a photograph issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, if he is not licensed to drive, or the written notification of registration.

  • Voter registration certificate
  • South Carolina driver’s license
  • South Carolina Dept. of Motor Vehicles photo ID card

    Voters without ID may be permitted to vote a provisional ballot.  This varies from county to county. Whether the provisional ballot is counted is at the discretion of the county commissioners at the provisional ballot hearing.

  • OK?  Here’s the new law the DoJ has rejected:

    When a person presents himself to vote, he shall produce a valid and current ID.

  • South Carolina driver’s license
  • Other form of photo ID issued by the SC Dept. of Motor Vehicles
  • Passport
  • Military ID bearing a photo issued by the federal government
  • South Carolina voter registration card with a photo

    If the elector cannot produce identification, he may cast a provisional ballot that is counted only if the elector brings a valid and current photograph identification to the county board of registration and elections before certification of the election by the county board of canvassers.

  • I’ll leave it up to you to determine what “new” provision suddenly makes this particular law, in light of the existing law, suddenly something which deserves rejection by the DoJ for the reasons stated?  Also note that SC voters will still need to produce an ID to vote.

    In fact, more methods of identification have been added and the same provision for those without ID remain, i.e. the provisional ballot that then requires they present a valid ID before their vote is counted.

    In fact, this is the opening salvo in a political war with the Department of Justice in the vanguard.  The same DoJ that refused to prosecute the voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers documented on video in Philadelphia in the 2008. 

    The federal action — the first time the government has rejected a voter-identification law in nearly 20 years — signals an escalating national legal battle over the laws as the presidential campaign intensifies. The American Civil Liberties Union and another group recently filed a federal lawsuit contending that Wisconsin’s new voter-identification measure is unconstitutional.

    Laws approved in Mississippi and Alabama also require federal approval but have not yet been submitted to the federal government. States can get such approval for changes to voting laws from Justice, a federal court in the District or both.

    There is no concern for the integrity of the voting system whatsoever in the action by DoJ.  This is raw politics.  There is nothing notably different or onerous about the new SC law.  But it provides a precedent for rejecting other state’s “new” laws in the near future.

    Here’s the Georgia law which has been in effect for years (passed in 2005) for comparison:

    Each elector shall present proper identification to a poll worker at or prior to completion of a voter’s certificate at any polling place and prior to such person’s admission to the enclosed space at such polling place.

    • Georgia driver’s license, even if expired
    • ID card issued by the state of Georgia or the federal government
    • Free voter ID card issued by the state or county
    • U.S. passport
    • Valid employee ID card containing a photograph from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
    • Valid U.S. military identification card
    • Valid tribal photo ID

    If you show up to vote and you do not have one of the acceptable forms of photo identification, you can still vote a provisional ballot.  You will have up to two days after the election to present appropriate photo identification at your county registrar’s office in order for your provisional ballot to be counted.

    This law functioned beautifully in 2008 and no one whined about "disenfranchisement".

    Again, this is about politics.  Why am I saying this?  Here’s a clue:

    It is unclear if the four states not subject to the Voting Rights Act requirement — Wisconsin, Kansas, Rhode Island and Tennessee — will face challenges to their laws. Justice lawyers could file suit under a different provision of the act, but the department has not revealed its intentions.

    Depends on how close the election appears to be in 2012 is my guess as to what will guide “its intentions”.  After all how can dead people vote if they have to produce a valid ID?

    I have absolutely no confidence in the current director of the Department of Justice nor do I believe he has any concern about justice.  He’s the ultimate political hack hired to push a political agenda (see Fast and Furious for further proof) and this is just another warping of the concept of justice by Eric Holder.

    ~McQ

    Twitter: @McQandO