The next opportunity for Edgefield County to vote is in the Party Primary Elections on Tuesday, June 12. Since South Carolina has open primaries, all registered voters may choose to participate in whichever party’s primary they want to, so long as they are registered voters. What ID do you need to vote? Current law states that (with rare exceptions) voters must present one of five documents: an SC driver’s license, an SC DMV ID card, an SC voter registration card with a photo, a military ID, or a U.S. passport. You can receive a free photo ID from the county voter registration office by providing your name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Why did SC recently (2012) enact the requirement for a photo ID? The stated reason was that it helps prevent in-person voter impersonation. But that may not be the real reason. A study at the NY University School of Law found that such fraud occurs so rarely that it is more likely that an American (quoting the report) “will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.” In the run-up to the law, our state Attorney General could not document a single case of such fraud.
Why, then, was this law enacted? A Washington Post study last year found “a significant drop in minority participation when and where these laws are implemented.” For years there has been a racial gap in voter turnout, but Voter ID Laws makes that gap bigger. Here’s a chart from that study:
So why did our Republican legislature decide we needed a strict Voter ID law? I’ll let you, the reader, answer the question. But whether you are White, Latino, Asian, or Black, don’t be dissuaded: Vote, starting with the Primary on June 12!