Image by Kheel Center, Cornell University ‘Amen, Ed, thank you for your support.’
Update: Get the latest.
Proponents of voter I.D. laws argue that the laws aren't designed to make it harder for targeted groups of people to vote, like the poor or black voters.
Poor, black, young, these are the target demographics of the Democratic party and these are the groups who historically have voted for Democrats in the past. Some argue that voter ID laws target these Americans unfairly. Some have gone as far as calling them a modern day Jim Crow law. However, those for voter ID laws argue that in today's society we need an ID for everything, so why not to vote?
And with that spirit, the state of South Carolina took its case for a voter ID law to court at the start of 2012 — and the case is only now being heard.
On Monday, August 29, SC Senator George E. "Chip" Campsen, III testified and cited examples of supposed voter fraud in South Carolina.
via Fox News
These included vote buying, voter rolls indicating a woman who showed up at the polls had already voted, and press reports of voters being registered in both South Carolina and North Carolina.
Justice Department attorneys pointed out that those examples cited did not involve any type of voter fraud that would be fixed by a voter ID law. Campsen acknowledges that they indeed did not.
Via Fox News:
He [Campsen] also said he could not find cases of voter impersonation in South Carolina, but added that the state lacks the tools to root them out.
(Read the rest of Fox News' first day reporting here.)
Yesterday, August 28, was the second day of hearings in front of a three judge panel over the legality of the South Carolina voter ID law and its purpose. The day didn't go so well for South Carolina when Horry County's own, State Rep. Alan Clemmons admitted to a "positive response to racist email" regarding the voter ID law.
Garrard Beeney, who represented the civil rights groups, presented emails sent to and from Clemmons’ personal account between 2009 and 2011, when he was working on the law. One, from a man named Ed Koziol, used racially charged rhetoric to denounce the idea that poor, black voters might lack transportation or other resources necessary to obtain photo ID.
The exact quote from the email via The Post & Courier
“You listen to that big racist Clyburn and Harpootlian talk and they make it sound like these people are too stupid to get one. All you’d have to do is announce that South Carolina legislation was giving a hundred dollar bill away if you came down with a voter ID card, and you would see how fast they got voter ID cards with their picture. It would be like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon.”
Clemmons' response to the email?
‘Amen, Ed, thank you for your support.’
McClatchy also writes that Clemmons distributed packs of peanuts with the phrase, “Stop Obama’s nutty agenda and support voter ID.” which Clemmons denied recalling yesterday. Back in June, according to Garrard Beeney, Clemmons testified that he did. Ironically, yesterday, an attendee at the Republican National Convention was thrown out for throwing peanuts at a black CNN camera woman and allegedly yelling to her, "This is how we feed animals."
FITS News chimes in on the news of Clemmons questionable response, saying that they do not believe Clemmons is racist but simply a politician who was telling a constituent what they wanted to hear. Which, really, isn't that worse? At any rate, FITS also points to another SC "Republican lawmaker to openly express racist sentiments", Rep. Bill Sandifer. Read FITS' write-up here.
The case, State of South Carolina v. United States of America and Eric Holder, Jr., U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, No. 1:12-cv-203, is expected to run through this week.
Regardless of the outcome, it may well be too late for the state to implement the law for the 2012 election.