The headline article in the July 7 edition of the Aiken Standard was entitled “Officials: Voter ID law working.” The basic premise of the article is that the voter ID law is a resounding success in South Carolina. First of all, passage of the law and the reason for it was a complete farce. The legislation was promoted as needed to solve a problem of voter fraud that has never been proven.
Passing legislation for a problem that does not exist is not smart public policy, and we all know that this legislation was totally unnecessary. Its intended function is to suppress voter turnout in certain demographic groups.
Fortunately, with the oversight of the courts, several states have had similar laws overturned. North Carolina’s intrusive law is being scrutinized in federal court as this letter is being written. Hopefully, it will be overturned, also.
S.C Rep. Alan Clemmons, the primary sponsor of South Carolina’s voter ID law, offers an opinion that the low number of issues that arose in the primary is proof that the law is working. In my opinion, that conclusion is premature. Voter turnout was so low for the primaries, it is impossible to say if voters stayed away from the polls due to lack of appropriate identification. The mid-term and the next general election will have more voters, and the impact may be more apparent. Still, it will be impossible to know how many voters will be negatively impacted by this law.
The state should be focusing on trying to get more citizens to participate in the electoral process, rather than passing legislation that is designed to try to fix election outcomes.