House GOP Approves Voter ID
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s House Republicans ushered the “Voter ID” legislation through the House today on a party-line vote.
“Protecting the integrity of the election system of South Carolina is the goal of this bill,” said Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach. “Voting is a constitutionally protected right and cannot be abridged. Four out of every five Americans supports showing a picture identification to vote. The House Republicans are fighting to ensure fair and secure elections in this state.”
For the last two years, the House Republicans have approved Voter ID – one of the top agenda items for the S.C. Republican Party. The legislation requires voters to show a government-issued picture identification (a driver’s license, passport, or military ID) to prove their identity when they vote. It also requires creation of a new voter registration card with a photograph. The fee for a state picture ID card is waived until the state can issue free voter registration cards with a photograph on them.
Despite rhetorical hyperbole of Democrats, the Voter ID legislation approved today has nothing to do with voter suppression or abridging someone’s right to vote. Under the current system, all you need is a voter registration card with your name and address.
“It is not the intention of the Republicans to disenfranchise anybody. As Republicans and elected officials, we want every legally eligible person to vote,” said House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham. “A strong electoral system, where the integrity of each vote is beyond reproach, is what makes our democracy strong. This legislation will ensure that in our state.”
Similar Voter ID laws in Georgia and Indiana have been upheld by the Department of Justice and the United States Supreme Court. The bill approved today mirrors the legislation approved by the House Republicans in 2009.
“Do we have to wait until we have proof of widespread fraud before we close a loophole that we know exists,” asked Rep. Bruce Bannister of Greenville, the Assistant Majority Leader. “Without secure elections, our entire political process is compromised.”
The Voter ID legislation will now go to the Senate, where a similar bill is currently on the calendar.
The approval of the Voter ID legislation marks the second agenda item approved by the S.C. House Republicans in three weeks. Two other items – the Higher Education Transparency and Tort Reform bills – are set to receive committee hearings this week.