Controversial voter ID bill draws strong reaction from both sides

Tuesday's press conference on the State House steps. / Adam Pinsker

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Opponents of a controversial legislation requiring South Carolina voters to show photo identification at the polls say lawmakers aren't considering the full costs of the measure.

The League of Women Voters, NAACP and AARP stood together on the State House steps hoping to stop the bill.

"There's a mythology about people who try to vote, representing somebody else, impersonating another voter, but there is nothing on record showing that anybody has been prosecuted," explains Barbara Zia of the SC League of Women Voters.

Republican legislators counter by saying there is an issue of voter integrity. Lexington Representative Rick Quinn says the legislation would crack down on voter fraud that is going on.

"We've had instances for example, where one person turned in over 500 absentee ballots themselves in an election recently," Republican Quinn says.

But the opponents worry seniors who don't have a birth certificate won't be able to get that photo ID.

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Zia says the bill would end up costing the state more than $1 million each year, because under the Constitution it would have to offer free photo ID cards to those who don't already have them. Organizers of Tuesday's press conference say lawmakers have underestimated the final cost.

Those in favor say it's a price worth paying.

"I think those are parts of the expense we have to have to have valid elections," Quinn adds. "I mean, you look at what happened in Florida during the presidential race, we've had instances where the integrity of the election was questioned."

The Senate has again amended the House bill to allow for early voting. The measure died last year with the House and Senate unable to agree on a compromise between their versions.

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