COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- State officials are now offering rides to the DMV to those who are unable to get there to get a state issued photo ID in order to vote.
Gov. Nikki Haley and South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Director Kevin Shwedo announced Wednesday at a press conference those people needing a ride can call a new toll-free phone number.
Haley says department employees will be available to give rides on Sept. 28. The number is 1-855-STATE-ID.
"During the confirmation call, we will give you a two hour window for pick-up," Shwedo explains. "We will come to your place, pick you up, get you to the DMV, get you your ID and get you back."
Potential voters must have a valid birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of residency. If they have had a name change since birth, they must also have legal documentation such as a marriage license, divorce decree or adoption records.
The most important thing citizens need to remember is that we cannot issue any type of credential without the proper documents to back it up. That TMs the hurdle most people face when trying to get an identification card, Shwedo added. For many people, the real problem is getting a birth certificate.
Officials encourage you to call ahead to see exactly what you will need in your situation.
The drivers will use state vehicles, but it's unsure what the final cost to the taxpayers will be. It depends on how many voters request rides.
South Carolina Democrats call the offer a stunt.
It TMs a taxpayer funded public relations stunt designed to distract attention from the real issue " this law suppresses people TMs right to vote. No government funded taxi service will change that, said Senate Democratic Leader John C. Land, III.Governor Haley and the Republicans continue to miss the point. The issue is their voter suppression law discriminates against people, said Senator Brad Hutto. The Department of Justice has rejected the Republican leadership TMs request because they have failed to prove this law does not violate the Voting Rights Act. And one day of Haley TMs Cab Company is not going to fix it.
Haley hopes the move shows the U.S. Justice Department that South Carolina is serious about making it easy for people to get IDs in order to vote.
If you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed, if you have to show a picture ID to get on an airplane, you should show a picture ID when you vote, Haley said. I want to thank Director Shwedo for partnering with us in this effort.
The federal agency said earlier this week it needs more information before deciding whether the Palmetto State can move ahead with the law.More Voter ID News... More information needed before SC Voter ID ruling SC Voter ID decision coming soon State Senate Dems formally protest voter ID law
The South Carolina attorney general's office says it's enlisting the help of former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement in getting approval for a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.
The attorney general's office sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Justice Department informing them of Clement's assistance if needed. Clement was solicitor general from 2005 to 2008. He did not immediately return a message for comment.
Alan Wilson's office also told the federal agency the state Election Commission would supply answers to its questions within 2 1/2 weeks. The Justice Department said in a letter Monday it needed more information before deciding whether to allow the state to proceed with the voter ID law.
Any change to the state's election laws must be cleared.
What do you think about the offer to give free rides to those needing IDs? Will it help get the Justice Department's approval for the change? Leave your comments below.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)