Executive Director, SC Progressive Network
Contrary to news reports, registered voters do not have to have a photo ID to vote in South Carolina.
There is widespread misinformation regarding the new state law. Numerous television reports leading up to the June 10 primary told voters they must have one of the five approved photo IDs to vote. Truth is, voters with none of the approved IDs can present their old (non-photo) voter registration card and cast a paper ballot.
Unlike the traditional provisional paper ballot that could be rejected by the county board of elections, the federal court ruled that the legitimacy of the paper ballots cast by voters without photo IDs is determined by the voter. The paper ballots will be counted unless evidence is presented that the voter lied about why they do not have a photo ID.
The two most salient points of the appeals court ruling were:
- “As we will explain, South Carolina’s new law, Act R54, likewise does not require a photo ID to vote.” (pg. 2, second paragraph)
- “First, to state the obvious, Act R54 as now pre-cleared is not the R54 enacted in May 2011.” (pg. 40 – Judge Bates’ concurring opinion)
The SC Progressive Network spent three years fighting this regressive law, and was a party to the appeal. We will not let state Attorney Gen. Alan Wilson, Gov. Nikki Haley and others go unchallenged in their claim that they beat the Section 5 ruling and that our new law requires voters to present a photo ID.
As we have said before, the photo ID campaign was a shameless ploy to suppress the vote — expensive political theater that only served to confuse voters. Unfortunately, they are still confused. Our work to educate South Carolina voters continues.