SC Dems Oppose Photo ID Bill
For Immediate Release
Feb. 26, 2009
Press Contact: Keiana Page (803) 466-8149
COLUMBIA, S.C. – S.C. House Republicans took a step backward with today’s passage of a bill which requires citizens to present a state-issued photo ID before they can vote, said Carol Fowler, chair of the S.C. Democratic Party.
The bill would primarily affect those who don’t have a driver’s license because they’re too poor to own a car or too old to drive one. House Republicans provided no reason to justify the measure, and no means to pay for it. The bill now moves to the S.C. Senate.
“South Carolinians stood for hours in lines last fall to exercise their right to vote. Now State House Republicans who so often decry needless government bureaucracy are creating yet another waiting line for voters and another expense for taxpayers,” Fowler said.
“Republicans saw the massive turnout at the polls last November, and they’re running scared,” Fowler said. “This is their attempt to impose a new burden on voters, draining citizens’ time and running up the costs of elections.”
“Democrats will continue to fight this injustice in the Senate,” she said. “We will push for a sensible plan that drops the House’s new bureaucratic hurdle to voting, and will allow citizens to vote early – without excuse. Our goal is to make voting easier and less costly both for citizens and taxpayers.”
Around the country, Republicans have been introducing photo ID bills, which they justify by raising the specter of voter fraud. Yet, in S.C. House hearings on the bill, election officials and even Republican supporters of the bill said they were not aware of any instances of the kind of voter fraud that the photo ID restriction would supposedly prevent.
Photo identification requirements have become the most common way to suppress votes based on “imprecise and inflated claims of ‘voter fraud,’” according to a 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. “Such photo ID laws are effective only in preventing individuals from impersonating other voters at the polls — an occurrence more rare than getting struck by lightning,” the study says.