Justice Department Blocks South Carolina Voter ID Law
The Justice Department rejected a new South Carolina law that requires the voters to present photo identification. It stated that the law would suppress the turnout of otherwise qualified minority voters. The move by the department was the first since it used its powers to block voter identification law, as stated under the Voting Rights Act.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. gave a speech that signaled an aggressive stance in reviewing new state voting restrictions. Most of the new laws were passed by Republicans as a way to fight fraud.
Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney for civil rights, sent a letter to the South Carolina government stating that the new requirement would result into significant racial disparities. He cited data given by the state that showed that there were 81,938 minority citizens who have already registered to vote but lack the ID requirement. At least 20 percent of the minority voters would be disenfranchised by the new law than white voters.
South Carolina must now drop the proposal or ask a federal court in the District of Columbia to approve the law. Analysts say that the state would most likely go to court and this could set up a decision in the Supreme Court with regards to the Voting Rights Acts.