The NAACP in South Carolina has joined the legal battle over the implementation of South Carolina’s new voter ID law. A federal judge in Washington, D.C. granted their motion Wednesday to side with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is being sued by South Carolina.
In South Carolina v. United States, Attorney General Alan Wilson has asked a federal court to approve the state law under the Section 5 preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act. The law has been blocked by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, because of its possible discriminatory effect on minority eligible voters.
The South Carolina Chapter of the NAACP and a small group of students from Benedict College in Columbia are represented by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Their attorney, Natasha Korgaonkar says they will be a defendant intervener.
AUDIO: Korgaonkar on what they bring to the case (:30)
To help voters prepare for the new state law, Gov. Nikki Haley and the SC DMV offered free rides and easier access earlier this year to voters to obtain a new, free state-issued photo ID. The civil rights group says there is more hassle to getting voting rights re-issued than a trip to the DMV.
“South Carolina claims that its new, ‘free’ voter ID card will overcome any problems associated with the lack of government-issued photo IDs among minority voters. Unfortunately, Act R54 does not account for the monetary costs and other impediments many voters will face when seeking to acquire the underlying documents for that ID,” Kim Keenan, General Counsel of the NAACP, said in a prepared statement. “Once a voter has factored in the cost of the required underlying documents, and the difficulty in getting them, the ‘free’ ID is actually quite costly.”
Dr. Lonnie Randolph, Jr., President of the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP said, “Instead of erecting barriers to the ballot box, South Carolina should be working to expand the electorate.”
Congressman James Clyburn Wednesday likened the pending law to 1960’s Jim Crow laws in the state. Wilson responded that the law treats everyone equally, regardless of color.