ACLU Urges South Carolina Senate To Reject
Voter ID Bill
Polarizing And Unnecessary Legislation Impedes Democracy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2008
CHARLESTON – The American Civil Liberties Union’s South Carolina Office today urged the South
Carolina Senate to reject the House-approved Voter ID Bill, an unnecessary and polarizing piece
of legislation that would enact significant barriers against seniors, the poor and other vulnerable
groups from exercising their constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote.
“Nothing is more fundamental than our right to vote, yet this voter ID law would restrict – not
increase – access to the voting booth,” said Victoria Middleton, Executive Director of the ACLU’s
South Carolina Office. “Rather than erecting hurdles that prevent South Carolinians from voting,
our state’s lawmakers instead should invest their energies – and severely restricted budget funds
– into ensuring that every eligible voter is allowed to vote and that every vote counts.”
The proposed bill, which would require voters to present photo identification at the polls in order
to cast a ballot, was passed last week by the House just moments after members of the
Legislative Black Caucus walked out of the House chamber in protest of the legislation.
The state’s historical record on disenfranchising voters through literacy tests, proof of tax
payments and other tests currently requires the state to get approval from the U.S. Department
of Justice to make any changes to its voting processes.
“Proponents of Voter ID laws have failed to demonstrate that individual voter fraud is a problem
in this state or in any other state in the country where similar efforts are underway,” Middleton
said. “This legislation would unfairly restrict the ability of minorities, people with limited income,
disabled persons and seniors to cast their votes. The people of South Carolina will not stand for
anyone’s rights being obstructed, and neither should their legislators.”
Voter ID laws also have the potential to wreak havoc at polling places, where volunteer poll
workers may not fully understand proposed voter ID requirements and risk turning away even
properly documented voters. The additional steps associated with checking identification will
cause longer lines and could deter voters who already are forced to spend significant amounts of
time waiting on line.
Additional information about the ACLU’s South Carolina Office is available online at: