Federal judges uphold South Carolina voter ID law
A three-judge panel of federal judges Wednesday upheld South Carolina’s voter ID law, overturning its rejection by the U.S. Justice Department.
By James Rosen; McClatchy Newspapers
By James Rosen McClatchy Newspapers
Published: Oct. 10, 2012 at 12:52 p.m. PDT— Updated: Oct. 10, 2012 at 12:52 p.m. PDT
WASHINGTON — A three-judge panel of federal judges Wednesday upheld South Carolina’s voter ID law, overturning its rejection by the U.S. Justice Department.
The judges said their ruling comes too late for the law to be applied in next month’s elections and directed South Carolina election officials to wait until next year before using it. By then, the U.S. Supreme Court may have ruled on an expected appeal from the law’s opponents.
But the unanimous ruling by the federal district court was a stunning rebuke to the Justice Department, which last December blocked the state law after finding that it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act because of its discriminatory impact on black voters.
The judges said the South Carolina law’s “expansive reasonable impediment provision” and state officials’ vow to interpret it liberally will enable voters to cast ballots even if they don’t possess one of the five types of photo IDs required by the law.