I strongly oppose bills that would require people to obtain and show a valid government-issued photo ID when exercising their constitutional right to vote.
It's uncertain what the price tag will be for implementing this legislation and the legal challenges that likely will follow. But photo ID is a prime example of wasteful use of taxpayers' money. Squandering precious taxpayer dollars to pay for voter photo IDs, when our state has effective identification procedures already in place and not one prosecuted case of voter impersonation, will be seen by voters for what it really is -- politics as usual at a time when we are cutting essential state government services.
Research shows that photo ID requirements encourage racial and ethnic discrimination at polling places, prevent eligible voters from participating in our democracy and limit voter turnout.
These requirements potentially would disenfranchise tens of thousands of registered voters without a valid photo ID and thousands of college students who want to vote locally. Who are these South Carolina voters with no valid photo ID? More than 27 percent are 65 and older; 26 percent are 45 to 64 years of age; 36 percent are minorities; 64 percent are white; many have disabilities; and almost all live in poor, rural areas with little or no access to public transportation.
Our state should be in the business of making it easier for people to vote, not adding costly restrictions and hassles that will negatively impact all voters.
Barbara Zia, president League of Women Voters of South Carolina Mount Pleasant