Friday, December 23, 2011

DOJ Rejects South Carolina’s Voter ID Law

Now with today’s announcement from the Department of Justice that South Carolina’s recently-passed Voter ID law, a law that requires voters to possess a photo ID, is discriminatory toward minority voters – a violation of the Voting Rights Act – I have to wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.

The other shoe being Texas.

Because if anything, Texas’ voter ID law is even more restrictive than South Carolina’s.

Texas and South Carolina share a common heritage in having Jim Crow laws on the books, laws that were meant to keep minorities off the voter rolls. The Voting Rights Act specifically targets the states that has them, and any changes that they make to their voting procedures must be precleared by the Department of Justice before they can be enforced.

Now here’s the thing. Indiana has a Voter ID law that passed muster in the Supreme Court. Indiana requires its voters to present a valid photo ID in order to vote.

Indiana was on the side of the North in the War of Northern Aggression (as the Civil War is known here in the South). So Indiana isn’t on the list of states whose voting laws need to be reviewed by the DOJ.

Making me wonder when someone here in the South is going to challenge the entire validity of Section 5 of the VRA – the meat of the law really – under the theory that it violates equal protection. That is, what’s OK in Indiana isn’t so OK in Texas, or South Carolina.

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