South Carolina still has laws in the books that are antiquated and the Legislature is trying to clear those out. One law, from the 1951 McCarthy-era, still stands in South Carolina. This “subversive activities registration act” was created to deter communists, but some lawmakers, like Pickens Senator Larry Martin, says the law is outdated. Secretary of State Mark Hammond explains how a citizen could still register: “If you’ve got $5 you can fill out the registration and send it to the Secretary of State’s office. If your intention is to overthrow the government then we have a form for you,” says Hammond.
It wasn’t until recently when people began signing up.
“After this got out on the websites and through the Internet we started getting several of these applications sent in through the Secretary of the State, and most of them are just used for political commentary. I believe most of them, they don’t really want them filed because they send in the form, but they don’t send in the filing fee,” says Hammond.
Hammond says people still sign up under the subversive activities registration act: “I think they’re trying to use it to take a jab at the state, or to bring a little embarrassment to the state. But, this statute goes back 60 years, I think it was first enacted in 1951. It goes back to Cold War politics and the Red Scare, and things like that,” says Hammond.
Senator Martin says the law has outlived its usefulness and he has a bill up that repeals the old law that’s in a Senate committee this week.
(Hammond’s comments MP3 :48)