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August 27th, 2012
08:08 AM ET

Court to hear challenge to voter ID law in South Carolina

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) – South Carolina officials head to federal court on Monday to defend a controversial new voter identification law, dismissing suggestions the requirement would deny tens of thousands of people, many of them minorities, access to the ballot.

A weeklong trial will kick off in Washington before a panel of three judges who will decide whether the law should take effect. It is one of several legal challenges to voter identification laws nationwide.

A key enforcement provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, gives the federal government open-ended oversight of states and communities with a history of voter discrimination. Any changes in voting laws and procedures in those areas must be "pre-cleared" with Washington.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has defended the law, saying it will not harm any potential voter.

"The changes have neither the purpose nor will they have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority," Wilson said.

The Justice Department blocked the measure from taking effect last year, concluding it was discriminatory.

Federal officials cited figures that registered minority voters were about 20 percent more likely than white voters to lack state-issued photo identification.

The Justice Department estimated that more than 80,000 people in South Carolina could be adversely impacted by the planned requirements.

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Bryan

    I find it funny that a good number of those who claim they don't have enough money for an ID and most likely would object to the voter ID requirements, have cell phones. I see it all day, every day when someone wants to file a claim for disability or some form of state assistance, claiming they can't afford afford the ~ 20-25 bucks for an ID as they are simultaneously texting someone from thier smartphone. I just sit there and shake my head.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      and just to head off any follow-up responses, no, I don't/won't process thier claim without any ID either.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Realist

    I believe that the GOP probably does engage in voter supression, but who can live in todays society without proper ID? Tossing them off the role for imaginary felonies ect... that is supression. Asking people for ID is not

    August 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sharkfisher

    You can bet Obamas Supreme court stooges will decide against this law. He needs all of the illegal votes he can get.

    August 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Wilson

      Yeah, that's why Republicans, across America, have been introducing and passing discriminatory ID legislation.

      REPUBLICAN PLAN TO WIN:

      Buy as many Judges as possibe
      Create discriminatory ID regulations
      Bring Billionaires and there $$$ into the process to BUY the ELECTION
      LIE, LIE, LIE, about President Obama...

      Makes sense to me...

      August 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Most, if not all of your generated facts are from your friends of Fox news. Try using common sense. it does wonders and may even help you break through your manufactured hatred of this President.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Jason,
      We don't need to "manufacture" hatred of this President. His policies and record have provided enough reason by themselves.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Evelyn Connaway

    The republicans with their mixture of dixiecrats are the lowest form of human life.. There have always been men in all the political parties with no principles and they all wound up under the new GOP from Reagan's days on down to 2012. They
    can call themselves whatever they want but they are still a bunch of power hungry greedy bunch, with the terrible disease of AVARICE.

    August 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharkfisher

      Reply to Evelyn Connaway: Liberals are the lowest form of life period. They would need a step ladder to see over whale crap at the bottom of the sea.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chris

        People who call each other the lowest form of human life are the lowest form of human life.

        August 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Juliemac

    Dont you need ID to cash a pay check? To cash a tax return check? To open a bank acct?

    August 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Casey

      No, I just scan it on my computer and deposit it. No ID required.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gaven

        You missed the point completely.

        You need ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes, to pick up medications, etc. What, minorities don't buy these things? Wait, they must just steal everything they want, right?

        There is no good excuse not to have a government-issued ID as an American citizen by the time you are 18 and eligible to vote. None. At. All.

        August 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I've also had to show ID every time I voted and don't/didn't have a problem with it. Like it or not, everyone is not allowed to vote. I suspect that many of the people that are unable to comprehend how to get an ID, couldn't make a wise voting decision either.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Al

    If they charge people to get an ID, and you're required to have the ID in order to vote than, quite simply, it's an illegal poll tax.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Illegal poll tax?

      Really, explain that to me please.
      Is it a poll tax if you're required to have ID to do dozens of other things except vote?

      Not having accurate identification is not a segregating measure as I understand it.
      However, if you have a different interpretation feel free to share it.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      In EVERY Voter ID requirement, there is a provision for those who cannot afford an ID to either get a state issued ID for free, or allow a form of ID that does not cost any money to obtain.

      Nice try, what excuse do you want to try next?

      August 28, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |