The U.S. Justice Department rejected South Carolina’s voter ID law, explaining it doesn’t do enough to guarantee that voters aren’t discriminated against.
“Until South Carolina succeeds in substantially addressing the racial disparities described above, however, the state cannot meet its burden of proving that, when compared to the benchmark standard, the voter identification requirements proposed … will not have a retrogressive effect,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said in a letter to the office of South Carolina’s attorney general.
The President’s administration explained South Carolina’s ID law didn’t meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which provided discriminatory issue preventing blacks from voting.
According to Thomas Perez, “tens of thousands of minorities in South Carolina might not be able to cast ballots under South Carolina’s law because they don’t have the right photo ID.”
Perez added that non-whites are one-third of all registered in South Carolina voters who don’t have the right ID necessary to vote.
“Nothing in this act stops people from voting,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson, being a Republican.
South Carolina’s new ID law obliges voters to show driver’s license or several some other alternative forms of photo identification.
“The U.S. Department of Justice today blocked implementation of a new law that would require South Carolina voters to present a photo ID in order to vote,” the state Election Commission said. “Therefore, ID requirements for voting will not change at this time.’
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, described the agency’s decision outrageous and said she intended to seek “every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process and our 10th Amendment rights.”
“The president and his bullish administration are fighting us every step of the way. It is outrageous, and 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 and our 10th amendment rights,” Haley claimed in a statement.
South Carolina ACLU executive director Victoria Middleton agreed with the Justice Department’s decision, saying the “misguided” law represented “a dramatic setback to voting rights in our state and we are pleased to see it stopped in its tracks.”
The decision was also approved by civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, who was to talk about how voter ID laws are a plot by conservatives to keep blacks from voting in his hometown of Greenville, S.C., next week. He described the laws as “like modern day poll taxes, targeting elderly people that can’t afford to get IDs and students.”
“We’re fighting wars for democracy overseas and we’re fighting democracy at home,” Jackson said. “What a contradiction.”
The ruling caused talks about the fate of the similar Texas voter ID law. However, the Justice Department has not decided yet on the Texas law.
State Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, revealed he hoped that the Texas law to be also struck down.
“I think this is a good sign that the Justice Department is serious about protecting everyone’s right to vote,” Veasey said.
However, State Rep. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, said it is too early to say whether the similar law will be accepted in Texas.