A recent op-ed column in The State newspaper, by state ACLU executive director Victoria Middleton and state president of the the League of Women Voters Barbara Zia, laid out the case against Voter ID. See the entire column at www.thestate.com/editorial-columns/story/1137870.html. And while you are reading it, ask yourself why this column did not appear in the Post and Courier.
Last week, the Senate reached a so-called compromise on the voter ID bill by inserting, among other provisions, a period of early voting. This may make it more convenient for some citizens to vote, but it does not justify disenfranchising 178,000 people – 7 percent of all registered voters in the state. And it does not justify the cost of the legislation. This “compromise,” if allowed to prevail, would mean a huge step backwards in the struggle for voting rights in our state.
Conservative estimates put the cost at more than $1 million annually to implement the original bill, which requires voters to obtain and show a government-issued photo ID before exercising their constitutional right to vote. The amended bill will dramatically increase this cost. The costs include lost revenue from elimination of fees for photo ID cards supplied by the Department of Motor Vehicles, additional training for poll workers, a statewide voter education program and new voter registration cards that include a photo. Not factored in are the considerable costs of legal challenges that South Carolina could incur.