Why couldn't South Carolina prove to the Justice Department that voter fraud was rampant?
Obama administration blocks South Carolina voter ID law
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Friday blocked a new South Carolina law that requires voters to have photo identification because of concerns it would hurt minorities' ability to cast a ballot.
Republican Governor Nikki Haley in May signed into law a measure that says voters must show a driver's license, passport or military identification along with their voter registration card in order to vote.
Under the law, anyone who wants to vote but does not have a photo identification must obtain a new voter registration card that includes a photo. A birth certificate can be used to prove identity.
The Justice Department said the requirement could harm the right to vote of tens of thousands of people, noting that just over a third of the state's minorities who are registered voters did not have a driver's license.
"The state's data demonstrate that non-white voters are both significantly burdened" by the law and "disproportionately unlikely to possess the most common types of photo identification" needed, Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, said in a letter to the state.
Governor Haley called the Justice Department's move "outrageous."
"We plan to look at every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process," she said in an emailed statement.
The NAACP, a civil rights group, was pleased with the decision.
"While the ID may have been free, the underlying documents were not," said the group, which called getting the voting documents sometimes "extremely complex and cost prohibitive."
"While some may quibble over the intent, there is no doubt the effect of this law would disproportionately block black South Carolinians from voting," the group said.
FRAUD VERSUS SUPPRESSION
Democrats have described the law as a "voter suppression" effort against minorities who historically do not always have photo identification cards. Republicans countered that their goal was to prevent voter fraud.
However, Perez said that South Carolina's submission to the Justice Department did not offer any evidence of voter fraud that was not addressed by existing law and that "arguably could be deterred by requiring voters to present only photo identification at the polls."
The Justice Department said plans by state officials to provide exemptions to the photo identification requirement were incomplete and vague. The state also has not finalized education and training materials.
If those issues were addressed, the Justice Department said the state could resubmit its plans and officials would consider revising its position.
The Justice Department move marks an escalation in the battle between the Obama administration and Republicans who control the legislatures in some states just 11 months before the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
Obama lost South Carolina in the 2008 presidential race by a nine-point margin to his Republican opponent John McCain.
Under the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, certain states like South Carolina must seek approval from the Justice Department or the federal courts for changes made to state voting laws and boundaries for voting districts.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this month said his team was reviewing changes to voting laws in other states including Florida and Texas and will challenge any that are discriminatory in violation of the federal voting rights law.
"The reality is that - in jurisdictions across the country - both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common," he said in a speech in Austin, Texas.
The Justice Department has also challenged a new election map drawn by Republicans in Texas, arguing that it does not fairly represent the exponential growth in Hispanic voters. Hispanics largely have supported Democrats in past elections.
- Anonymous9 years agoFavourite answer
Probably because it never was...That was a rigth-wing myth put out there to cause chaos and justification to do what they've done and is now overturned.
- righteousjohnsonLv 79 years ago
If you insist that voter fraud doesn't exist, you are either a liar or a fool. I've worked as an election judge for 8 years now, and it's rampant, and in my experience, exclusively Democrat. It gets to the point where you can spot them, but you can't stop them. Maybe make them vote a provisional ballot, but that's all.
It's easy, they show up as either; the first ones in the morning, the last ones at the end of the day, or in a large group later in the afternoon.
The early birds are trying to get in before you get too comfortable with the process, and the last callers are trying to take advantage of the judges fatigue to just let them through. The afternoon groups come after it has been determined who's names they can use. This information is gotten from poll watchers or complicit judges. They will go to specific precincts, where there are no real Republican judges and are always confrontational if questioned at all. They know their rights, but not necessarily their address, and will walk out if it gets too hot.
Don't cheapen the right to vote by denying the obvious fraud. It's insulting to honest voters and does more damage in the long run than you can imagine.
- David LeGareLv 49 years ago
Ok if there is no voter fraud why did they just get so many indictments against voter registration fraud against acorn in 6 states. How come 4 democrats just plead guilty to voter fraud for Obama registration in 3 states. You cannot deny these things they are facts.
- yellow.45Lv 69 years ago
Probably because most of the voter fraud committed is done by Republicans against minorities. There is a raft of new laws designed to disenfranchise minority voters in most Republican controlled states. If the Republicans can get their votes then they would prefer they not vote. Voter Suppression is the name of the game now.
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- smkellerLv 79 years ago
Funny, it used to be the Conservatives that regarded personal ID as an 'invasion' of privacy. Now they want it. There is plenty of time to start programs of issuing photo ID's to people who can't afford them otherwise. I would support Obama or whoever wants to start this.
- Anonymous9 years ago
If there are thousands of illegals in South Carolina, the president will entice them to vote regardless of the laws on the books that you don't respect.
- Anonymous9 years ago
Because the widespread voter fraud doesn't exist. It's a manufactured controversy by the Republicans.
I hope the Department of Justice continues to reject more voter suppression laws in other states that have enacted them.
- MikeLv 59 years ago
Republicans are always trying to figure out ways to cheat. If they can keep the poor from voting, they have a better shot at winning so they can keep their grubby un-American hands in America's cookie jar for yet another term.
- Anonymous9 years ago
Why can't the just show a photo ID and vote?
How do they get a check cashed or get welfare or buy cheap wine without an ID??
- SarahLv 79 years ago
Because there is no evidence of voter fraud in my state.