By Lauren Ratcliffe
Published Oct. 10, 2012
Voters in South Carolina must present photo identification when they cast their ballots, beginning in 2013.
A three-judge panel upheld South Carolina’s controversial voter identification law requiring all registered voters to present state- or federal-issued photo identification at the polls.
The panel allowed the law to be implemented stating that the new law does not create undue burden because voters without photo identification can give a reason for not obtaining ID and still vote. Furthermore, the judges said the state has made it easier and cheaper to obtain photo identification.
State Attorney General Alan Wilson praised the decision, calling it a major victory for the state.
“It affirms our voter ID law is valid and constitutional under the Voting Rights Act. The fact remains, voter ID laws do not discriminate or disenfranchise; they ensure integrity at the ballot box,” he said. "This ruling also affirms South Carolina's voter ID law should have been pre-cleared by the U.S. Justice Department.
"We will work diligently to implement this law for all future elections,” he added.
Last December, civil rights groups petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice, urging them to overturn the identification requirement claiming Department of Motor Vehicle-issued photo identification presented an undue burden and would disenfranchise lower-income minority voters.
The justice department agreed and halted the law.
South Carolina’s successful appeal to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded in late September.
The entire decision can be read online.