League of Women Voters, NAACP join lawsuit over South Carolina's voter ID law

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The League of Women Voters and the NAACP on Wednesday became the latest groups allowed to take part in a legal challenge over South Carolina’s new voter identification law.

The groups join the American Civil Liberties Union as supporters of the U.S. Department of Justice in its defense against a lawsuit filed by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. A panel of three federal judges is considering the case, which is being heard in Washington.

The League wrote to the court last month, arguing that the law would be a hindrance to its Election Day duties of helping with a voter protection hotline and would also mean that the League is able to spend less time registering new voters and talking about the importance of casting ballots.

Attorneys for the NAACP said the law would keep black voters from being able to cast ballots and said it represents five black Benedict College students who wouldn’t be able to use their school-issued ID cards at the polls.

Passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Nikki Haley, the law requires voters to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls. The state is also required to determine how many voters lack state-issued IDs so that the Election Commission can inform them of the new law.

The Justice Department blocked the law in December, saying it could keep tens of thousands of the state’s minorities from casting ballots. Justice officials also said the law failed to meet requirements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires the Justice Department to approve changes to South Carolina’s election laws because of the state’s past failure to protect blacks’ voting rights.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is suing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, arguing the law is not discriminatory and is similar to one in Indiana that has already been upheld.

A scheduling conference in the case is set for April 13. The judges have also asked Wilson to file court papers identifying the latest date on which the photo ID requirement must become effective to apply to the November 2012 elections.

COKE SEVERS TIES

WASHINGTON — Coca-Cola Co. has terminated its relationship with a conservative group seen by some as an incubator for a string of new state voter ID laws and a marketer of laws like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense statute.

The Atlanta-based soft drink maker said its focus with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, was on combating “discriminatory” food and beverage taxes, not on issues “that have no direct bearing” on its business.

The decision to “discontinue its membership” came Wednesday, just a few hours after the black online advocacy group ColorofChange began a campaign against the company’s support of ALEC.

Coca-Cola declined to respond to additional questions.

– Associated Press

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/06/12 - 08:44 am
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Meg Kinnard wrote: Attorneys

Meg Kinnard wrote:

Attorneys for the NAACP said the law would keep black voters from being able to cast ballots and said it represents five black Benedict College students who wouldn’t be able to use their school-issued ID cards at the polls.

That is correct. These photo I.D. laws insist that the I.D. presented at the polls be an I.D. issued by a government agency. Benedict College is not a government agency. But just because the students at Benedict College cannot use their college I.D. does not mean that they cannot use some other form of government-issued I.D. Most of them have driver's license. Some of them have passports. If any of them are in the National Guard they can use that I.D. And if a student does not have a single I.D. issued by a government agency; then the State of South Carolina will issue them a voter I.D. card free of charge.

It is sad when a once-great organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is now trying to convince the courts that people of color are not as capable as others in meeting these sensible safeguards of the voting process, which present only the most minor of inconvenience.

The actions and statements of the NAACP are demeaning to black people across the nation.

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