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      State Senate Dems formally protest voter ID law

      Photo Credit: FILE

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina Senate Democrats have filed a late protest of the new voter law that requires government-issued photo identification to vote.

      Friday's filing by the Senate Democratic Caucus came three days before a decision on whether the law can be enforced was due from the U.S. Justice Department.

      Democrats call the new law the nation's most restrictive and say it targets a state where blacks voted in equal percentages to whites for the first time in 2008. They say people with suspended driver's licenses won't be able to vote.

      These are legitimate reasons for the United States Attorney General to object to this law. It discriminates and undermines the precious liberty each citizen has, the right to vote. The Voter ID law sets South Carolina on the path to return to the ugly days of playing politics with our basic freedoms, and it should be stopped, said Senate Democratic Leader John C. Land, III.

      Republicans say the law is needed to prevent voter fraud.

      The state estimates as many as 178,000 current registered voters lack required government-issued photo IDs. State election officials say registered voters can cast absentee ballots by mail without photo IDs.

      The deadline for Department of Justice TMs decision on the Voter ID law is Monday August 29.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)