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.
South Carolina’s law was passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Nikki Haley. The state’s attorney general vowed to fight the federal agency in court.
“Nothing in this act stops people from voting,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson, who is also a Republican.