If It Ain’t Broke…

Will Moredock’s April 1st City Paper critique of the voter photo ID bill (H. 3418) currently in the S.C. Senate was excellent. (“The State GOP Strikes Back: After losses, Republicans plan to limit voter access,” April 1)

While the article exposed most of the bill’s major failings, it did not note the adverse effect the bill would have on all out-of-state college students in South Carolina and on the state’s revenues. H. 3418 would prevent out-of-state college students from voting in their local precincts because college IDs, used with voter registration cards, would no longer be permitted. Out-of-state driver’s licenses would not be allowed as well.

In the November election, thousands of out-of-state students on South Carolina campuses found it far more convenient to vote in person near their campuses than to vote by absentee mail-in ballots.

In addition, if this bill passes, the state Budget Office estimates a loss of revenue to the state Highway Fund of over $850,000 per year because the $5 DMV fee for ID cards would be eliminated. The state cannot charge for an ID card needed for voting because it would be a de facto illegal poll tax. Why should a state with its budget in crisis forego that revenue?

As Mr. Moredock noted, supporters state that this bill is required to protect the integrity of the vote. However, South Carolina is already one of 24 states that require identification to vote. This bill only prevents voter impersonation at the polls — an occurrence more rare than getting struck by lightning. It is not worth the risk of going to jail just to change the outcome of an election by one vote.

The voter photo ID bill is a costly legislative solution in search of a problem, and it would directly affect thousands of out-of-state students on our college campuses as well as many other legitimate voters across South Carolina. The League of Women Voters urges citizens to contact their state senators and ask them to vote against H. 3418 and the voter photo ID provision in S. 334.

Mary M. Horres

Co-Chair, Voters Service

League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area