COLUMBIA, S.C. — A spokesman for the state Election Commission says the lack of problems at the polls during last month's primaries shows South Carolina's voter ID law is working well.
But critics say the effects are not yet known.
The June 10 primaries represented the first statewide test of the law since it was implemented last year.
"The numbers reflect what we haven't heard from voters," said agency spokesman Chris Whitmire. "We don't hear complaints about not being able to vote or being disenfranchised or general complaints about the new photo ID requirements."
He attributes that the training of county election officials and voter education efforts.
Of the nearly 453,000 votes cast, 44 in at least 39 counties reporting were not counted because the voter didn't provide a valid photo ID. All of those were people who told poll workers they didn't bring their driver's license, or other acceptable photo ID, with them, then failed to present it later. The law allows those who forget their photo ID to vote a provisional, or paper, ballot. It won't count, however, unless they show the ID at their county election office before officials certify results days later.
Voters who don't own a photo ID also can cast a paper ballot after signing an affidavit that a "reasonable impediment" kept them from getting one. All of those votes were counted. It's unclear how many were cast, since counties detailed to the state only uncounted provisional ballots. But the numbers appear to be very low. A total of 18 were cast in the 18 counties that responded to a survey by Wednesday — seven of those counties reported no one voted that way, according to the Election Commission.
State Rep. Alan Clemmons said the low numbers show the law, which he pushed as preventing fraud at the polls, did not burden voters as critics feared.
"That the first election went without a hitch regarding voter ID is an indication to us all that voter ID is working in South Carolina," said Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach. "The registered voters in South Carolina have confidence that concerns raised of fraud at the polls have been responded to and their vote is being counted for its full value."
But Brett Bursey, director of the South Carolina Progressive Network, said it just shows the law was an unnecessary, partisan measure that confused voters. He stresses the photo ID law, as upheld by a three-judge federal panel in October 2012, doesn't actually require a photo ID to vote. It just requires those without one to vote on paper after giving a reason they couldn't get a photo ID.
"Thanks to the U.S. district court, it was revised to make it easier for people to vote as opposed to harder," Bursey said.
Attorney General Alan Wilson had sued after the U.S. Justice Department blocked the law.
The court based its ruling on Wilson's broad interpretation of the "reasonable impediment" clause and Election Commission director Marci Andino's testimony on how it would be implemented. Votes cast under that provision will be counted unless someone proves to election officials the voter was lying on the affidavit. So far, that hasn't happened, Whitmire said.
The federal panel unanimously found the law was not discriminatory because of the safeguards in it, and that there was no discriminatory intent.
As the court noted, the law added three forms of photo ID to the list of previously accepted identification for voting: a military photo ID, a passport and a new photo voter registration card, which voters have been able to get for free at their county election office since December 2012.
As of July 1, some 23,186 such cards had been created statewide. Any registered voter can get one. It's unknown how many sought one out of necessity and how many just wanted their voter registration card to include a photo, Whitmire said.
Susan Dunn, an attorney with the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said turnout was too low in the primaries to know the law's effect. Just 16 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in either the Republican or Democratic primaries.
"If we have a general election with a large turnout, we don't know how it's going to affect the lines," Dunn said.
But she said the numbers do show that state officials are honoring what they told the court concerning the affidavits.
Original article on The State
Congress may be on recess, but activists across the country are not taking a break from the nationwide push to get big money out of politics. Today activists teamed up for a massive petition drop, delivering petitions in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United to 21 Senate offices in 15 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington).
It seems like every e-mail I receive these days from a Democratic Senate candidate or Senator up for re-election this cycle includes a warning that the infamous Koch brothers will do anything, no matter the cost, to take over the US Senate - and with it, our country.
On Thursday, a group of Democratic lawmakers proposed a law to establish a Code of Conduct for the Supreme Court.
It’s surely to have Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Scalia quaking in their Tea Party boots because it would mean they would actually have to be independent of political and other influences. They would also have to have the appearance of independence. They would have to stay away from political activity. That part would be really hard.
On June 23rd the State Senate passed AJR 1, making California the second state in the union to officially call for an Article V constitutional convention for the sole purpose of passing a United States constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn Citizens United v. FEC and limit the corrupting influence of money in our electoral process.
A new organization called ExposeFacts—backed by well-known source of The Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg—is debuting itself in Washington, DC on Wednesday as a new place where government and corporate employees aware of wrongdoing can more safely and securely report their concerns.
The telecommunications industry is creating and funding front groups which pose as consumer organizations and aggressively lobby to kill net neutrality, journalist Lee Fang revealed in an article published in Vice on Friday.
It’s a sad state of affairs when a country that touts freedom of the press depends upon cable TV comedy shows to hear the real news.
Why the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling is good news for the super-rich and bad news for progressive Democrats.
At the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, a conservative election lawyer and a baby-faced electrical engineer from Alabama with a made-for-TV Southern drawl began plotting how to unravel federal campaign finance regulations.
This is an idea worth spreading - so - please watch & share with 5 or 10 friends. It’s important to get money out of politics and the average person back in. Also - leave a message on the YouTube and let TED know - this is one of the most important issues of the day."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is, as they boast on its website, the world's largest business organization, as well as the nation's largest corporate lobbying group. It is also a recipient of some of the largest amounts of so-called "dark" money in the country, refusing to disclose to the public its donors or even the amounts it receives.
Citizens United is not just the default reference for US Supreme Court decisions—including the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling—that have ushered in a new era of corporate dominance of American elections. It’s the name of the conservative group that encouraged Chief Justice John Roberts and the most activist Court majority in American history to tear the heart out of what were already weak campaign finance laws.
PITTSFIELD -- Their signs read "Get Big Money Out of Politics," "Democracy Is Not For Sale" and "This Is What Plutocracy Looks Like." About a dozen of them stood in Park Square on Wednesday evening, one of 130 "rapid response events" coordinated nationwide to protest that morning's Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC.
Any doubts about the determination of an activist United States Supreme Court to rewrite election rules so that the dollar matters more than the vote were removed Wednesday, when McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was decided in favor of the dollar.
Sam Bell is in the third year of a PhD program in geology at Brown University. Geology as in rocks. But Bell also moonlights as the the state coordinator of The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, the state affiliate of the 10-year-old Progressive Democrats of America. And in his work with The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, Bell was instrumental to the investigation that ultimately led to the National Rifle Association paying the second largest campaign finance fine in the state's history.
Postal workers are giving it their all this holiday season, as cards and packages and returns must be collected and delivered amidst ice storms, snowstorms and wild temperature drops.
They deserve our thanks in 2013.
And our support in 2014.
Thanks to a loophole that subsidizes CEO pay, McDonald's, Yum Brands, Wendy's, Burger King, Domino's, and Dunkin' Brands trimmed $64 million from their tax bills in 2011 and 2012.
The fast food industry is notorious for handing out lean paychecks to their burger flippers and fat ones to their CEOs. What’s less well-known is that taxpayers are actually subsidizing fast food incomes at both the bottom — and top — of the industry.
In December 1972, I was part of a nationwide campaign that came tantalizingly close to getting the U.S. Senate to reject Earl Butz, Richard Nixon's choice for secretary of agriculture. A coalition of grass-roots farmers, consumers and scrappy public interest organizations (like the Agribusiness Accountability Project that Susan DeMarco and I then headed) teamed up with some gutsy, unabashedly progressive senators to undertake the almost impossible challenge of defeating the cabinet nominee of a president who'd just been elected in a landslide.
Progressive voices were heard loud and clear at Saturday’s Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) State Committee Meeting in Maricopa, Arizona.
Unlike some past ADP meetings where progressives were ignored or where progressive resolutions were tabled and not heard by the full ADP membership, the Maricopa meeting was dominated by progressives.
Tucson is one of the most impoverished cities in the country—for many reasons. The Arizona Legislature—driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and short-sighted, “small government” ideology—has routinely swept funds earmarked for counties and cities to “balance” the state’s budget or fund pet projects like lower corporate taxes. Beyond the Legislature’s negative impact on Baja Arizona, the Tucson economy is not diversified enough. Manufacturing is nearly non-existent in Southern Arizona. There is an over-reliance on defense spending, University of Arizona spin-offs, tourism, low-wage service jobs, and growth/development.
MoveOn.org Petition - Congress Don't Renew Fast Track
Public Citizen Petition - Congress Must Reject Fast Track Authority
MoveOn.org Petition - Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership
CREDO Petition - Stop the Massive Corporate Power Grab
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