Opponents react to voter ID law being upheld
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 22:10:41 GMT —
Opponents of South Carolina's controversial Voter ID law do not plan to appeal a federal court ruling Wednesday that upheld the law.
Still, they say the law is unnecessary and they fear it will disenfranchise many voters.
Members of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, which intervened in the case, opposing the law, say the law will make voting a hardship for too many citizens.
Starting next year, voters in South Carolina will be required to present one of five types of photo identification before they can vote.
Many voters will use their driver's license, but an NAACP spokesperson says that won't work for everybody.
"People are legally blind, people have seizures, people have heart conditions, people take medication that keeps them from driving," said Bren Langdon.
Langdon says she's not opposed to the law, per se, but the Department of Motor Vehicles just makes it too hard to get a photo ID.
She says many older black citizens were born at home and don't have the birth certificates the state requires to get an ID.
She believes the law is a throw-back to the Jim Crow laws that suppressed the black vote.
"That ID goes back to when you had to stand there, was your grandfather a slave? Or you have to pay this. Can you read?," Langdon explained.
The president of Horry County's League of Women Voters says yes, a photo ID is required these days to get on an airplane or do any number of other things, but voting is different.
"Voting is a privilege from the constitution, so to make it a hardship to get an ID in order to vote is really unconstitutional," said Elizabeth Weems.
Weems says Wednesday's federal court ruling made it clear that voters who don't have photo ID's will still be allowed to cast provisional ballots, and those ballots must be counted.
That makes it better, she says, but the law is still a solution in search of a problem. "We think that the law isn't necessary. There is no evidence of voter fraud at the polls in South Carolina."
Weems says when the law goes into effect, the League of Women Voters and the US Justice Department will be watching closely to make sure the law is not abused.
The judges ruled Wednesday the state cannot put the law into effect until next year.