Photo: South Carolina Voter ID Law passes
A federal three-judge panel in Washington cleared the way Wednesday (October 10) for South Carolina’s voter ID law, setting aside the Justice Department’s objections that the measure would disproportionately disadvantage minority voters in the state.
In this sense, the South Carolina decision was a significant victory for supporters of voter ID laws both in the state and around the country, particularly since it comes over the objections of the Justice Department. Similar objections, voiced as part of the department’s preapproval authority under the Voting Rights Act, played a role in scuttling Texas’s more-stringent voter ID law earlier this year.
Still, South Carolina’s law won’t be in place until 2013, as the federal court ruled there was not enough time to implement it before Election Day.
But in granting approval, the D.C. District Court panel found the Justice Department’s denial of pre-clearance to be unnecessary given the expansiveness of South Carolina’s law. Unlike some stricter voter ID laws, such as Texas’s, the three-judge panel found sufficient flexibility in South Carolina’s statute to allow it to go forward.