By: Jennifer Howell
It would require South Carolina voters to show a photo ID at the polls.
Bill sponsor Rep. Bill Sandifer, R-Sumter, says the photo ID will insure voting integrity.
"The right to vote is one of the most sacred rights in this country," Rep. Sandifer said. "This bill will protect that right against possible fraud."
South Carolina voters can now show either a drivers license or voter registration card. The registration card does not include a picture.
Opponents claim the bill would cost the state more than the $1.35 million. That estimate came from the state Board of Economic Advisors.
Representative Sandifer believes the bill's cost will not cause problems.
"The money really is very, very minute when looked at in the light of the amount of the total state budget," he said.
The bill would offer free photo IDs to people who don't have them. The cost estimate includes new cameras, photo ID supplies, more absentee ballots and poll worker training.
"We don't have any evidence of voter impersonation, so there is no problem," American Civil Liberties Union member Victoria Middleton said. "And yet we are considering a measure that will cost the taxpayers money and prevent some taxpayers who are register voters from practicing their right to vote."
Both the House and Senate passed the bill. The Senate added amendments before passing it. It will go back to the House to approve the changes.
The Senate amendment to the bill exempts voters over the age of 65 from having to show a photo ID.This is in reaction to the argument that poor, student and elderly voters would be least likely to have a photo ID. Opponents argue this will discourage many from voting.
"I just don't think people should be left out because they can't afford an ID," South Carolina voter Amanda Wolf said.