What's the problem with South Carolina's voter ID law?

Neil Snyder
President Obama is attempting to prevent states from making sure that elections are fair and honest because he can.

A couple of days before Christmas, the United States Justice Department rejected South Carolina's voter ID law. From AP: 

"The Justice Department on Friday rejected South Carolina's law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, saying it makes it harder for minorities to cast ballots. It was the first voter ID law to be refused by the federal agency in nearly 20 years.

"The Obama administration said South Carolina's law didn't meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices preventing blacks from voting. Tens of thousands of minorities in South Carolina might not be able to cast ballots under South Carolina's law because they don't have the right photo ID, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said."

I live in South Carolina so I can explain what South Carolina's voter ID law amounts to in practical terms.  I enter the polling place and approach a table where people are sitting with books that contain the names of registered voters.  Since my last name is Snyder, I get in the line for the letter "S."  When it's my turn, the woman at the table asks me for my name and checks to see if I am listed in her book.  Once she finds my name, she asks me for identification.  Since I live in South Carolina, I have a South Carolina driver's license.  I hand it to her; she makes a notation in the book; and I vote.  That's it. 

Yesterday, Media Matters published a piece titled "Fox's Fraudulent Defense Of South Carolina's Voter ID Law."  They said,

 "In a January 3 segment on Fox News' Fox & Friends, correspondent Jim Angle promoted a number of falsehoods and misleading claims about voter ID laws and the Justice Department's action preventing one such law from being implemented in South Carolina."

The Media Matters piece contains a lengthy and poorly formatted explanation to support its claim that Fox News committed journalistic fraud, but it boils down to this: South Carolina will provide a free voter ID to anyone, but they must present documentation to prove that they are eligible to vote in South Carolina elections.  They will need a birth certificate, a Social Security card, and proof of residency.  According to the Justice Department and Media Matters, that's going too far since people who don't have a birth certificate will have to obtain one, and there is a cost associated with acquiring a birth certificate. 

In an op-ed piece today titled "Democrats Are Terrified of Voter ID," Robert Knight put his finger on the real problem:

"The most consequential election in our lifetime is still 11 months away, but it's clear from the Obama administration's order halting South Carolina's new photo ID law that the Democrats have already brought a gun to the knife fight.

"How else to describe this naked assault on the right of a state to create minimal requirements to curb voter fraud?"

It looks as though President Obama is determined to win re-election by hook or by crook.  He has ordered his "Justice" Department to remove obstacles to his success by attacking laws that are designed to assure that justice prevails where voting is concerned.  This is the real injustice: a sitting president is attempting to prevent states from making sure that elections are fair and honest because he can.  It suggests that President Obama may think that he can't win otherwise.  The president is from Chicago, a town that is well-known for rampant voter fraud, so he may also believe that voter fraud is the norm.  Well, in South Carolina it's not, and the laws that he wants to eliminate are designed to prevent it.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.  His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot. 

President Obama is attempting to prevent states from making sure that elections are fair and honest because he can.

A couple of days before Christmas, the United States Justice Department rejected South Carolina's voter ID law. From AP: 

"The Justice Department on Friday rejected South Carolina's law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, saying it makes it harder for minorities to cast ballots. It was the first voter ID law to be refused by the federal agency in nearly 20 years.

"The Obama administration said South Carolina's law didn't meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices preventing blacks from voting. Tens of thousands of minorities in South Carolina might not be able to cast ballots under South Carolina's law because they don't have the right photo ID, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said."

I live in South Carolina so I can explain what South Carolina's voter ID law amounts to in practical terms.  I enter the polling place and approach a table where people are sitting with books that contain the names of registered voters.  Since my last name is Snyder, I get in the line for the letter "S."  When it's my turn, the woman at the table asks me for my name and checks to see if I am listed in her book.  Once she finds my name, she asks me for identification.  Since I live in South Carolina, I have a South Carolina driver's license.  I hand it to her; she makes a notation in the book; and I vote.  That's it. 

Yesterday, Media Matters published a piece titled "Fox's Fraudulent Defense Of South Carolina's Voter ID Law."  They said,

 "In a January 3 segment on Fox News' Fox & Friends, correspondent Jim Angle promoted a number of falsehoods and misleading claims about voter ID laws and the Justice Department's action preventing one such law from being implemented in South Carolina."

The Media Matters piece contains a lengthy and poorly formatted explanation to support its claim that Fox News committed journalistic fraud, but it boils down to this: South Carolina will provide a free voter ID to anyone, but they must present documentation to prove that they are eligible to vote in South Carolina elections.  They will need a birth certificate, a Social Security card, and proof of residency.  According to the Justice Department and Media Matters, that's going too far since people who don't have a birth certificate will have to obtain one, and there is a cost associated with acquiring a birth certificate. 

In an op-ed piece today titled "Democrats Are Terrified of Voter ID," Robert Knight put his finger on the real problem:

"The most consequential election in our lifetime is still 11 months away, but it's clear from the Obama administration's order halting South Carolina's new photo ID law that the Democrats have already brought a gun to the knife fight.

"How else to describe this naked assault on the right of a state to create minimal requirements to curb voter fraud?"

It looks as though President Obama is determined to win re-election by hook or by crook.  He has ordered his "Justice" Department to remove obstacles to his success by attacking laws that are designed to assure that justice prevails where voting is concerned.  This is the real injustice: a sitting president is attempting to prevent states from making sure that elections are fair and honest because he can.  It suggests that President Obama may think that he can't win otherwise.  The president is from Chicago, a town that is well-known for rampant voter fraud, so he may also believe that voter fraud is the norm.  Well, in South Carolina it's not, and the laws that he wants to eliminate are designed to prevent it.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.  His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.