South Carolina voter ID law blocked until 2013
A federal court ruled Wednesday that South Carolina’s voter-identification law will go into effect starting next year, Reuters reported.
A three-judge panel on the U.S. District Court unanimously ruled that, though Act R54, as the law is called, does not discriminate against minorities, the state does not have enough time to implement it before the Nov. 6 general election.
The U.S. Justice Department had blocked R54, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“Every time the federal government has thrown us a punch, we have fought back,” Governor Nikki Haley (R) told The State Wednesday. “This win is not just for South Carolina, this is a win for our country.”
According to WLTX-TV, the panel ruled that the state had built enough safeguards into the law to avoid voter suppression, including allowing residents with a non-photo identification to vote as long as they state the reason they didn’t have one.
“South Carolina’s new voter ID law is significantly more friendly to voters without qualifying photo IDs than several other contemporary state laws that have passed legal muster,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his decision, which was endorsed by Judges John Bates and Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
The judges also concluded that South Carolina legislators did not have a discriminatory purpose when they enacted the law, another requirement under the Voting Rights Act.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]