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Mon August 27, 2012
S. Carolina's Voter ID Law Challenged In Federal Court
South Carolina's voter ID law is in federal court this week, where state officials will try to defend it against a U.S. Justice Department finding that says the law would discriminate against blacks.
The law would require a photo identification as a prerequisite for voting.
The Obama administration is hoping to kill South Carolina's law and similar laws in several other Republican-controlled states that could adversely affect turnout in November among black voters, who are less likely to have a voter identification.
NPR's Kathy Lohr reports:
South Carolina's attorney general sued the federal government after the Justice Department refused to approve the voter ID law, saying the state did not prove the law would not have a discriminatory effect and that it doesn't comply with the voting rights act. That law requires the federal government to approve changes to voting laws in some states because of their past discrimination.
According to The Post and Courier:
Dozens of S.C. legislators, officials, professors and interest groups will testify for five days under questioning by attorneys from a Washington law firm representing South Carolina and by civil rights lawyers with the Justice Department.
Among those testifying will be South Carolina Sen. John Scott, who is black, the Post said.
Based on approximately 25 years of experience in the (S.C.) Senate and House of Representatives combined, I believe that the members of the General Assembly knew that minorities are overwhelmingly likely to vote Democratic," Scott said in advance written testimony. "I also believe that the members of the General Assembly expected the voter ID bill to lead to lower turnout among minority voters."
Paul D. Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, will respond on behalf of South Carolina that the voter ID law isn't discriminatory and has a legitimate, colorblind aim of preventing voter fraud.