A recent ruling by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., allows South Carolina’s new voter ID law to stand. But the law, which may still face an appeal by the Justice Department, will not become effective until 2013, with additional rules for Notaries presented with affidavits from voters lacking identification.
Passed by the state last year, it requires voters to present one of five types of photo identification to cast a ballot: a South Carolina driver’s license, a state photo ID, a passport, a military ID, or a new form of free photo card obtained from a county election office. People who do not possess any of these forms of ID will be allowed to sign an affidavit claiming a “reasonable impediment” to obtaining one. The affidavit, which permits the holder to vote, can be witnessed by poll workers or election managers as well as Notaries. If a Notary provides this service, however, no fee may be charged.
The new law replaces an older, less stringent state law which did not require voters to have a photo ID. When it takes effect next year, South Carolina will join some 31 other states that now require voters to present an official state-issued identification card.