S.C. panel approves voter ID

COLUMBIA — South Carolina legislators approved today a bill to allow 15 days of early voting while requiring people to show photo identification at polling places.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure with a 14-7 vote. But with the Legislature adjourning for the year in a week and Democrats objecting to the measure's photo ID requirement, it's unlikely the measure will make it to the governor's desk this year.

Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, opposed the photo ID requirement and said the bill had no chance of moving forward without allowing a 30-day early-voting window.

"We've got enough people to filibuster this until hell freezes over to get to 30 days," Ford said.

But Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, said that plenty of states only allow 15 days and that election officials supported the shorter period.

Republicans say the photo ID requirement is needed to prevent voter fraud. But Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said there have been no prosecutions for voter impersonation involving bogus identification.

Democrats say the requirement would discourage voting.

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