South Carolina raced to be among the first GOP-led states to pass a radical voter ID bill that stands to disenfranchise “nearly 180,000 voters” in the state, “most of whom are elderly, student, minority or low income voters.” Indeed, the Associated Press found that the law hits majority-black precincts the hardest as “the percentage of minority voters without the right identification is higher in those areas than other precincts statewide.”
But apparently, requiring a photo ID to cast a vote is not enough proof of eligibility for state legislators. Now, they’re considering a bill that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote:
South Carolina legislators want to require more proof of citizenship when people want to register to vote under legislation a panel plans to discuss.
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee plans to take up a bill Thursday that says citizenship proof can come from documents that include a driver’s license, birth certificate, United States passport or tribal identification.
Proof of citizenship may seem like an intuitive requirement for voter registration. However, a requirement to provide a driver’s license or birth certificate will impair voter registration drives, especially when people may not readily have that identification on hand. Coupled with the voter ID law, this requirement will serve to disproportionately disenfranchise minorities in the state.
The current voter ID law isn’t even legal, and it was blocked by the Department of Justice for leaving South Carolina’s non-white voters “significantly burdened” in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The VRA requires voter laws in states that have a long history of discrimination to be “precleared” by DOJ or a federal court in DC before they may take effect. Instead of assuring that the photo ID law doesn’t violate basic civic rights of their constituents, these legislators are hoping to further suppress voting rights by making it more difficult to even register, let alone vote.
Several other states are picking up the 2011 anti-voter trend and seeking to implement their own voter ID laws. Despite repeated failure to impose one in the past, Missouri is pushing through a voter ID bill despite the fact that “no one testified in favor” of it. Iowa’s Republican secretary of state also plans to unveil a new voter ID bill as well.