Friday’s decision by the Obama Justice Department to strike down South Carolina’s voter ID law should surprise no one who has been following Attorney General Eric Holder’s idea of justice. The South Carolina law is similar to laws passed in Texas, Rhode Island, Kansas, Tennessee and Wisconsin but so far the Justice Department’s interest has rested solely on Texas and South Carolina; the two states on the list that are among nine covered under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The Justice Department released a statement that said South Carolina’s law didn’t meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said, “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.”
The response from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson was swift and to the point saying, “Nothing in this act stops people from voting.” He vowed to fight the Justice Department ruling in court. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley released a statement accusing the Obama Administration of engaging in partisan political politics. “The president and his bullish administration are fighting us every step of the way,” Haley said. “It is outrageous, and we plan to look at every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process and our 10th amendment right.”
Not surprisingly, the ACLU and the Rev. Jesse Jackson welcomed the decision. South Carolina ACLU executive director Victoria Middleton called the law “misguided” and said it, “represented a setback to voting rights in our state and we are pleased to see it stopped in its tracks.” Jackson announced plans to visit his hometown of Greenville this week to talk about how voter ID laws are like modern day poll taxes, targeting elderly people that can’t afford to get IDs and students. Jackson said, “We’re fighting wars for democracy overseas and we’re fighting democracy at home. What a contradiction.”
Someone should remind the Rev. Jackson that the United States is a constitutional republic, not a democracy and it might be a good thing for him to read the South Carolina law before making outrageously inflammatory and false statements about its contents. First, the law allows people without a proper ID to cast a provisional ballot and gives them a specified amount of time to return with a proper ID so their ballot will count.
Second, the law required the state to determine how many voters lack state-issued IDs so that the Election Commission could notify voters of the change in the law. Finally, the law authorized the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a free state photo identification card to all who need one. Free means no money required to obtain an ID and thus, the Rev. Jackson’s comparison to a poll tax is absurd.
The South Carolina Election Commission released a report claiming 240,000 active and inactive voters lacked a photo ID. However, South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles executive director Kevin Shwedo accused the South Carolina Election Commission of purposely cooking the number of active and inactive voters who lacked driver’s licenses or ID cards for political purposes. Shwedo said the commission created, “artificially high numbers to excite the masses.”
The facts? Of the 240,000 cited by the commission 207,000 live in other states, have licenses with names that don’t match voter records or are dead. That leaves approximately 33,000 voters who would need an ID card to vote. Since the law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to provide a photo ID free of charge there is no way this law represents any burden, let alone an undue burden, on anyone.
Liberals, leftists and other assorted self-proclaimed pro-gressives appear to like voter fraud. What other reasonable explanation could there be for their vehement opposition to reasonable voter ID laws? You can’t board an airplane, purchase a firearm, or buy alcohol without showing a photo ID. Why would we as a society view these actions as more in need of protection than the process of casting a ballot? The integrity of the election process must be maintained to protect the system from fraud and to promote confidence in the electorate that every vote counts…. but only once and only for the one casting the vote. “Phantom voters” can be eliminated but only if the Obama Administration Justice Department stops defending their phantom rights.
Dr. Tony Beam received his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Limestone College, Gaffney, SC, 1980; his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Seminary, Wake Forest, NC., 1990; and his Doctor of Ministry from Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY, 2002. Dr. Beam is currently Director of Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University. Dr. Beam is Host of Christian World View Today, AM 660 from 7 - 8 a.m., Mon. - Fri.