S.C. voter ID effort dead, for now

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COLUMBIA --- The controversial effort to require South Carolina voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot died Tuesday, but Republicans are vowing to start over strong next year.

"It will be a priority, and unfortunately we weren't able to pass it this year," state Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, said Friday.

The House and Senate could not resolve differences over the proposal, which also created a one-week, no-excuse early voting period for one location per county. It had been subjected to a Democrat-led filibuster.

Calling the voter ID bill "the top priority for the Republican Party in 2010," House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, R-Cayce, scolded Senate Republicans for failing to defeat the Democrats' obstructing maneuver.

"The House Republican Caucus, along with the leadership of our party, will come back next session reinvigorated and ready to fight this battle again. It will not get easier for the Senate Republicans," he said.

Peeler declined to address Bingham's criticism.

Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, said Friday he was anticipating a return to the issue next year and that the next governor will also have a hand in shaping the outcome. Hutto said he hopes the new debate will favor a longer early-voting period, an expanded list of accepted forms of ID and greater flexibility for counties that need more than one early-voting location in order to avoid long lines.

"We don't know, as we debated on the floor, of any allegation where there's been people showing up at the polls claiming to be one person and being someone else," Hutto said. "There's nothing wrong with trying to guard against those, as long as we make it easy for people who don't have an ID."

Next year's return to the debate might also bring a repeat of the animosity it stirred.

Last year, three-dozen members of the Legislative Black Caucus and several white Democrats walked out of the House chamber in protest of the bill, likening the effort to a poll tax and Jim Crow-era attempts to keep poor blacks from voting. Some Democrats said the push to require photo ID's was a Republican strategy to combat the waves of new voters who registered in order to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

A final hurdle to any change is the U.S. Justice Department. South Carolina is among the states subject to the Voting Rights Act, so a change in the law would require federal approval.

Currently in South Carolina, early voting is allowed in the form of casting an absentee ballot ahead of an election. Only those who meet certain conditions, such as suffering a disability or a recent family death, qualify for this form of early voting.

The new legislative session begins in January.

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55 F-100
55 F-100 07/06/10 - 07:33 am
Don't worry with creating a

Don't worry with creating a state law, just do it locally......the Georgia county in which I vote requires the voter to produce a driver's license which is checked against the voter registration list information, and then the citizen......legal citizen, that is........is allowed to vote. To Blazes with the legislators, just have your county do the right thing locally!

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 07/06/10 - 07:56 am
Your heart is in the right

Your heart is in the right place, 55 F-100, but let me add some facts. The reason your county voting officials require voters to produce an I.D. badge is because state law requires it. Georgia fought long and hard to create, implement and defend the law against merciless meddlers in federal courts. South Carolina needs to do the same thing, but it takes South Carolina so much longer to do anything. Look how much longer the South Carolina legislature sits in session, and they still end up with unfinished business. Pretty soon, the South Carolina legislature will become a year-round affair, just like the U.S. Congress.

johnston.cliff 07/06/10 - 08:35 am
The controversy isn't over

The controversy isn't over showing a picture ID voter registration, it's NOT showing it. The left always wants to run something and the picture ID makes it more difficult.

Big Boss
Big Boss 07/06/10 - 02:49 pm
"Calling the voter ID bill

"Calling the voter ID bill 'the top priority for the Republican Party in 2010,' House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, R-Cayce..."

While I don't see any harm in having such a law pass, I think S.C. politicians' top priority should be bringing JOBS to the state.

CoastalDawg 07/06/10 - 09:57 pm
I'll never understand why

I'll never understand why requiring a potential voter to show ID has created such a firestorm. The Georgia law has been challenged over and over and to what purpose? First, it was difficult for some people to get the proper ID - Georgia settled that by offering FREE voter ID @ DMV and on and on. There are SEVERAL pieces of identification which can be used to verify voting status, not just one. AS to arguing about whether or not this should be a top priority, in today's world it IS - how many illegal aliens are in this country now, and practically as guests of our present government in Washington. Today the federal government filed suit against Arizona for trying to protect themselves from the invasion, and invasion IS the correct word. It is imperative that only citizens take part in the process to elect those who are SUPPOSED to serve us and our interests in government.

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