The South Carolina State Elections Commission has added more than 22,000 inactive voters to the list of people it estimates do not have state-issued photo IDs that a new state law requires in order to vote.
The commission says nearly 21, 000 of those voters haven’t voted during the past two elections. The commission reported last month that nearly 217,000 registered voters lacked state-issued photo identification.
Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday, State Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said the true motive for the law passed by the majority Republican state legislature is not to curtail voter fraud, but to keep down the minority vote that tends to vote Democrat.
“They saw what happened here (in South Carolina) in 2008; a huge African-American turnout because of President Obama and they want to do whatever they can to diminish that,” Harpootlian told Chris Matthews.
The law is still under scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department.
Harpootlian attacked Governor Nikki Haley for championing the bill he says smacks of voter suppression. He says the law puts an undue burden on minorities, the elderly, and the poor. “We’ve got a couple hundred thousand people registered to vote that don’t have picture IDs, like a driver’s license,” he said, “To go get that they’ll have to pay money to get a birth certificate and many of these people are poor. So Nikki Haley’s idea here is why do have to convince these people to vote for somebody, let’s just make sure they don’t vote.”
Harpootlian says there is no need for the law because there is no recent history of widespread voter fraud in South Carolina. “There has not been on reported case of voter fraud in this state over the past 10 years, and it’s going to cost $2 million dollars to implement this and it’s going to disenfranchise people. The only explanation is it’s got nothing to do with integrity as (Gov. Haley) says. Iit’s got everything to do with no integrity.”
The law’s supporters say there is no record of voter fraud because there is little the state can do to prove fraud without requiring a photo ID card.
Judith Browne Dianis, co-founder of Advancement Project, appeared on the same program with Harpootlian. Dianis said her organization is gathering information on South Carolina and other states that are trying to implement photo ID laws and petitioning the U.S. Justice Department to declare the laws unconstitutional under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Advancement Project is a policy, communications, and legal action group committed to racial justice founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999