South Carolina should fight voter ID ruling

December 31, 2011


Is there, or should there ever be, a point at which a state is no longer penalized for its discriminatory past?

Not according to the Department of Justice, which recently rejected a South Carolina law that would have required voters to show a valid photo ID before casting their ballots.

Justice says the law discriminates against minorities. The Obama administration said, “South Carolina’s law didn’t meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices preventing blacks from voting.” Why South Carolina? Because, the Justice Department contends, it’s tasked with approving voting changes in states that have failed in the past to protect the rights of blacks.

Are they serious?

There are two African Americans representing South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives, One is Tim Scott, a freshman Republican. The other is 10-term Rep. James Clyburn, the current assistant Democratic leader. There are numerous minority members of the S.C. state legislature and Gov. Nikki Haley who is Indian-American.

This is not your grandfather’s South Carolina. This is not the South Carolina of the then-segregationist and Dixiecrat presidential candidate Strom Thurmond. Yesterday’s South Carolina had segregated schools, lunch counters, restrooms and buses and a dominant Democratic Party. Today’s South Carolina is a modern, integrated, forward-looking, dual-party state.

If Justice thinks proving who one is by showing valid photo ID discriminates against minorities, how does it explain the election of so many minority legislators? Are only whites voting for them?

Democrats, especially, should be sensitive to states and people who have demonstrated that they have changed. It was the Democratic Party of the late 19th century that resisted integration throughout the South, passing Jim Crow laws that frustrated blacks who wanted to vote. Today, many members of that same party refuse to allow poor minority students to leave failing government schools as part of the school voucher system because they, apparently, value political contributions from teachers unions more than they value educational achievement.

The South Carolina law that offends the Justice Department anticipated objections that some poor minorities might not have driver’s licenses (and certainly not a passport) because they might not own cars. So the state will provide free voter ID cards with a picture of the voter on it. All someone has to do is prove who they claim to be. A birth certificate will do nicely. A utility bill can be used to prove residency.

Not requiring a voter to prove his or her citizenship and residence is a recipe for voter fraud. Democrats like to accuse Republicans of trying to keep minorities from voting because they know most will vote for Democrats. Even if that were true (and it’s debatable) the reverse is probably truer. Some Democrats have allegedly encouraged people to vote who were not eligible, some more than once. Without a valid ID, how can we stop this?

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law has compiled a list of new voter identification laws passed this year. In addition to the one in South Carolina, all require some form of photo identification. Will Justice go after all of them, as well?

According to the Brennan Center, a new law in Kansas, effective Jan. 1, 2012, requires a photo ID, with certain exceptions such as a physical disability that makes it impossible for the person to travel to a government office to acquire one, though they must have “qualified for permanent advance voting status...”

A new Texas law, which took effect on Sept. 1, requires a photo ID in order to vote, or another form of personal ID card issued by the Department of Public Safety.

Gov. Haley and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson vow to fight the Justice Department ruling. They should. Photo IDs are required when flying on commercial aircraft or cashing a check. That discriminates against no one. Neither does requiring people to prove who they are before voting, unless, of course, there’s another agenda, like “stuffing” the ballot box.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services. His email is


Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

Never dug a ditch, but cleared brush in a mountain area for surveyors. Hard tough work, and looking back the company owner was not Mr. Rogers either. You worked for respect. Not the mantra of today, my feeling got hurt, my nose is running, is that a tick bite, I quit because "they didn't respect me."

Lesson learned, the checks cashed fine, and 70 hours was better than 30.

The big boys and I chatted though. From them and others I learned to find a good career which in my case made college essential. There are more outstanding paying jobs nowadays not needing a college education, than do in my opinion.


jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

Racism is the belief that somebody of a certain race is inferior simply by virtue of belonging to that race.

That's all.

Many, many things that are discussed under the term are simply incorrect uses of it.


Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

williegreen, I see racism everyday. Open ugly racism. I hear it blast from worn out old cars owned by hopeless American youth. I see it when the N word is argued over ownership and use. Good men were jailed because they fought labels like boy and N. Now we glorify it.

Don't give me this muledung answer some can use it, some can't, it's not the same thing. I know at least a dozen fine men I call friends who take huge offense to this awful word.

I see it in the eyes of older men who quietly shake heads in disbelief of what's become of a generation.

I feel it when I see a youth who can not put a sentence together, or understand why the person doing the hiring cringes when the F word is spouted. Least of all the lack of work ethic to dig a ditch, man a cash register, sweep a floor while gaining secondary education.

I see it when an entire generation looks at degenerate artists as role models, never knowing there are thousands who should be.

I see racism when a young person interviews for a job with smoke on his breath, pants dangling around his knees, who can not fill out a simple job application.

I see it in a culture, black, white, green, believing being a good father is having the government give the mother an apartment and welfare money.

Maybe the saddest of all folks like me witnessed the brave men and women who fought real racism in the 50s-70s and see the open disregard for the true gains.

willie, mi amigo, you have it wrong. Time to begin putting the blame of racism where it belongs, then progress can be made again.


williegreen 2 years, 3 months ago

Cal Thomas is being intellectually disingenuous to suggest that discriminatory political practices and attitudes have been eradicated south of the Mason-Dixon line.

The landmark Civil Rights and Voter Rights legislation of the mid-'60s was enacted (with bipartisan support) by a Democratic Administration and a Democrat controlled Congress. The vote was largely split along regional lines, not partisan, with the former Confederate states of the deep South being overwhelmingly outvoted by the rest of the nation.

In the wake of this legislation, minorities registered to vote in support of the party that sponsored this legislation, and politicians in the "Solid South" (which had been Democratic in opposition to the Party of Lincoln) abandoned their allegiance to the Democrats and migrated their segregationist views to the Republican and "Libertarian" parties.

Forty-five years later, these southern Republican and Libertarian legislators, whose worldviews and "values" were formed during the highly divisive period of the Civil Rights struggle, have highly polished and refined their segregationist rhetoric. No longer blatantly racist, their legislative agenda is carefully crafted to circumvent Civil Rights legislation. Yet these policies remain deeply rooted in the Jim Crow laws from which they are derived. This is evidenced not only by the current coordinated attack on voters' rights, but also by the "plantation economic policies" emphasizing "privatization", dismantling federal regulatory agencies, and repealing labor laws to spread Jim Crow "right to work" legislation throughout our nation.

The GOP is no longer the Party of Lincoln. It has morphed into something that is very ugly and rife with bigotry.


Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree, although the current bunch was "throttled" in the 10 elections. Meaning the real agenda never saw the light, but people did see what was in store with unchecked liberalism.

Like it or not we are a freedom loving nation. We are unique, we have unique ways.

I would love to see the real gains we made in health care, and at what cost.

I would love to see a total on this bunch's cost per job created.

I would love to know the real cost in having a president apologize for every error we made in foreign policy over the years. I have read where other nations citizens wondered what in the h e double hockey sticks Obama was doing.

I'd take Bill Clinton back in a heartbeat.


kansanbygrace 2 years, 3 months ago

Wiss, were you doing a Rip-Van-Winkle while the Patriot Act, the invention of TSA, of HSA,, the globalized banking policies were put into place? O had nothing to do with establishing those. He did, though re-sign the PA. I see very, very little difference between the current bunch and those of CheneyBush. All power hungry. There's no reason to believe any of those Republicans have changed their stripes, any more than the incumbant Democrats. All the same. All the same.
"If voting really changed anything, it'd be made illegal." Still one of the wisest bumper stickers ever.


Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

If the nation has not had a belly full of Nanny Pelosi, Obama, liberal agenda, and the fact the greatest nation in the last 200 years is self-imploding in a matter of just a few years then?

If the nation does not take a hard right in Novemember 12, then we are Greece.


camper 2 years, 3 months ago

Can we count on one hand, the entire # of people who have been proven in a court of law to have commited voter fraud?

The real threat posed to election fraud would come from election officials and/or politicians if it were to happen.,....not from an individual stupid enough to fraudulently vote. What would be the motive?

Instead, all we get are politicians creating a smoke screen to attack non-existent problems and create us masses into fear and reaction. Thats what it is...playing on our fears.


jayhawklawrence 2 years, 3 months ago

The right to vote was limted to a select few for much of our early history. Today, the right to vote is one of the most precious privileges for an American citizen for it allows us to call ourselves a free people in a land of liberty. We should not be so easily swayed to give up that right by first denying it to our poorest and our elderly.

"At its birth, the United States was not a democratic nation—far from it. The very word "democracy" had pejorative overtones, summoning up images of disorder, government by the unfit, even mob rule. In practice, moreover, relatively few of the nation's inhabitants were able to participate in elections: among the excluded were most African Americans, Native Americans, women, men who had not attained their majority, and white males who did not own land."

Unfortunately, the nationwide effort promoted by the Republicans to put restrictions on voting that would decrease the number of Democratic votes has nothing to do with voter fraud and everything to do with dirty politics.

...and Cal Powers is not at all interested in what is fair and ethical as he pretends but interested only in collecting a fat paycheck as a writer of propaganda.


RoeDapple 2 years, 3 months ago

I like the idea of voter ID. I intend to ask the officials handing out ballots for picture ID to prove who they are.


its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

bea retorts:

"You love the smell of anyhing to do with Obama any time of day or night. You live for your hatred of this man. His being President now defines who you now are. How sad. "

Remember your hatred for W? I think you do. So, let's enjoy our freedoms.


Gandalf 2 years, 3 months ago

From a link from K Kobacks government site Guide to voting in Kansas Voting is a privilege and a responsibility of every eligible Kansas citizen. Participating in democracy should be as easy for you as possible.

Darn, and here I thought voting was a right not a privilege!


lunacydetector 2 years, 3 months ago

the only election frauds that's out there has been orchestrated by the democrats....of course they don't want people to prove who they are when they vote. notice all the liberals on this website against showing id's to vote?


beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

I wouldn't be one bit surprised if Republicans aren't already training people how to pick people's pockets and steal wallets, so when they show up to the polls and don't have their ID they won't be able to vote.

Think this far fetched? Well they are planning to do just this, and I will prove so as soon as Republicans prove that people without the right to vote are now doing so. Show me the apparent rash of illegal voters out there casting ballots, and then we can talk.

Seriously (and no, I'm not serious about the pick pockets) these ID rules are about putting limitations on a right, which is something Republicans should be against. How does new voting rules indicate limited government? What other rights do you care to limit? "Show me your papers!" is not the American way.


tange 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm looking forward to the new voting stalls, replete with turbo hem- and urinalysis.


BornAgainAmerican 2 years, 3 months ago

Eric Holder's political abuse of law should be exposed for what it is. The 1965 Voting Rights Act was created to combat the systematic disenfranchisement of minorities, especially in Southern states with a history of discrimination. But the Justice position is a lead zeppelin, contradicting both the Supreme Court and the Department's own precedent. In 2005, Justice approved a Georgia law with the same provisions and protections of the one Mr. Holder nixed for South Carolina. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board that an Indiana law requiring photo ID did not present an undue burden on voters. As African-American men at the most exalted reaches of government, Messrs. Obama and Holder are a testament to how much racial progress the country has made. It's a shame to see them pretending little has changed so they can scare up some votes.

  • From a Source

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

BTW, no photo ID will be required to vote in the Iowa Republican caucuses.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

How did anyone vote in the 17 and 18 hundreds. These people could have been attacked by bears or wolves while walking to the voting booth. They didn't even have photo ID.

How did these people get their food stamps, free housing, welfare checks without photo ID?


Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

The Department of (no) Justice will be busy for the coming year maximizing the likelihood of voter fraud in America. They figure it's the only way for the Mope to win.


Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

Do we really want somebody voting who can't find a way to obtain a picture I.D.?


jayhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

A question I have is does the voter bear any responsibility in ensuring that their vote is counted. As examples, could a voter show up at his/her polling place on the first Wednesday in November and claim they got their dates mixed up and could they then still vote? And if denied, could they then claim they were unduly denied their right to vote? Or could a person living on State Line Road in Kansas go to his/her nearest polling place just across the road, claiming it's the nearest place to vote? The point is that whatever requirements are being made upon the voter, there is ample time and opportunity for the voter to do what is necessary for that person's vote to be counted. We all must register to vote and either get to our place of voting or make arraignments to vote absentee. Voter suppression can only happen with a substantial amount of cooperation on the part of the person making that claim.


its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

I love the smell of Obama's Class Warfare in the morning.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

"Is there, or should there ever be, a point at which a state is no longer penalized for its discriminatory past?"

Moot question, given that the whole point of the voter ID laws is to suppress voter turnout.


appleaday 2 years, 3 months ago

Voting is a right in this country even for people in poverty. Those who do not drive because they cannot afford a car also have difficulty getting to places where photo IDs can be obtained. No one says they can't get them, but in order to get them, they have to produce a birth certificate (which costs money), get to the place where the photo ID is obtained, and then wait for the photo ID to be mailed to them. The concern is that these are all roadblocks to voting and, for some people become insurmountable. There are many elderly people who cannot get out and about easily who have voted in elections since before most of us were even born who suddenly have to jump through hoops to exercise their right to vote.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

Hawaiian Ninja and his sidekick, Fast and Furious gun runner pal Holder, think minorites do not have the ability to get photo ID.

That's a heck of a thing to think about people. I wonder why they roll like this?


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