Commentary: No need for photo ID bill

This editorial appeared in The Rock Hill Herald.

The state voter photo ID bill is largely a solution in search of a problem. Nonetheless, we doubt that it would pose a significant obstacle for prospective voters as critics claim.

The bill, which passed 65-14 in the House last week, would require voters to show photo identification at their polling place before voting. Voters could present a drivers license, passport, military ID or state ID card to sign up to vote.

Voters now can use a voter registration card, which has no photo. And opponents of the bill say requiring a photo ID would unfairly restrict the ability of minorities, the disabled, seniors and low-income voters from casting a ballot.

While the bill passed by a lopsided majority, the debate was contentious. Members of the Legislative Black Caucus, who called the bill a backlash against the election of President Barack Obama, walked out before votes were cast.

Democrats contend the bill is a veiled attempt to suppress the vote among constituent groups that normally vote Democratic. Republican supporters say it's a matter of voter integrity and security.

The Republican claim would ring truer if supporters were able to produce some evidence that voter fraud is widespread in South Carolina – or in any other state, for that matter. South Carolina has no proven instances of unregistered voters trying to cast ballots, according to the bills' opponents.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Rock Hill Herald.