As I waited in line to vote this morning, a poll worker handed me an information card about South Carolina’s new Voter ID law that will take effect on January 1, 2013.
Any mention of a Voter ID law, a rule that requires voters to show photo ID to be allowed to vote, immediately solicits screams of “voter suppression.” After reading this card, produced by the South Carolina Election Commission, it is clear to me that those who make such accusations either have not read the facts about this law, or are intentionally ignoring it to elicit fear.
I’m going to reproduce the entire card. The next time I hear someone complain of someone trying to “take away one’s right to vote,” I’m going to send them to this post. The card’s content is in blue and red; my commentary is in black.
COMING IN 2013
Beginning January 1, 2013, you will be
asked to show one of the following
Photos IDs at your polling place:
- S.C. Driver’s License
- ID Card issued by S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
- S.C. Voter Registration Card with Photo
- Federal Military ID
- U.S. Passport
HOW TO GET A PHOTO ID:
If you do not currently have one of the
Photo IDs above, you can make your voting
experience as fast and easy as possible
by getting one free of charge:
- Get a voter registration card with a photo from your county voter registration and elections office by simply providing your date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
- Get a DMV ID card at a local DMV office. Check with DMV or scdmvonline.com for required documents.
That’s the front of the card. The rules seem simple enough, and contrary to what you might have heard, there’s no special, single ID card that is required; several options exist.
If any of those options, however, seem too much trouble, or are for any other reason impossible, here’s what you’ll find on the reverse side of the card:
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE
PHOTO ID ON ELECTION DAY:
If you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining
Photo ID, you may vote a provisional ballot after
showing your non-photo voter registration card.
A reasonable impediment is any valid reason,
beyond your control, which created an obstacle
to obtaining Photo ID. Some examples include:
- Religious objection to being photographed
- Disability or illness
- Work schedule
- Lack of transportation
- Lack of birth certificate
- Family responsibilities
- Election within short time frame of implementation of Photo ID law (January 1, 2013)
- Any other obstacle you find reasonable
Note that last point: not any obstacle the state or the county finds reasonable, but any that you find reasonable. If the rest of them didn’t cover enough ground for you, that last one ought to take care of anything else.
To vote under the reasonable
- Present your current, non-photo cover registration card at the polling place.
- Sign an affidavit stating why you could not obtain a Photo ID.
- Cast a provisional ballot that will be counted unless the county election commission has reason to believe your affidavit is false.
If you do NOT have a Photo ID and do NOT have a
reasonable impediment to obtaining one, or simply
forgot to bring your Photo ID with you to the
polling place, you may still vote a provisional ballot.
However, for your vote to be counted, you must
provide one of the Photo IDs to the county election
commission prior to the certification of the election
(usually Thursday or Friday after the election).
So even if you can’t get everything done by election day, you then have at least two more days to take care of what ought to have already been taken care of.
Does this sound like “suppression” to you? It sure doesn’t sound like it to me.