Republicans Score More Victories on Voter ID

By: - May 13, 2011 12:00 am

The governors of South Carolina and Texas are poised to sign new state laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, delivering fresh victories to Republicans who say such measures are necessary to prevent election fraud. 

The South Carolina Senate voted Wednesday (May 11) to require voters to show a driver’s license, state-issued ID card, passport or federal military ID to cast a ballot, according to The State newspaper . The bill now moves to Governor Nikki Haley, who says she will sign it.

In Texas, the state Senate approved similar legislation this week, with the House of Representatives and Governor Rick Perry expected to follow in short order, according to The Associated Press

In both states, Republicans control both chambers of the legislature as well as the governor’s office, allowing the proposals to become law despite fierce opposition. Democrats say photo ID laws are unnecessary because there is limited evidence of voter fraud, and they claim Republicans are using the laws to disenfranchise poor and minority voters who may not have IDs and would vote for Democrats.

As Stateline reported in April , major GOP victories at the polls last year have brightened the prospects for voter ID laws across the country this year. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, already signed a voter ID plan into law in his state — a development that would have been unlikely last year, when Democrat Mark Parkinson was in the executive office. In Texas, previous attempts to pass voter ID had been blocked by minority Democrats in the House, but Republicans picked up a supermajority in November’s elections, leading to this year’s breakthrough. 

“The elections in November made a huge difference on this issue,” Tova Wang, senior fellow at Demos, a New York-based advocacy organization that works to defeat photo ID proposals, told Stateline last month.

Republicans could score more victories on voter ID before state legislative sessions end. GOP-backed proposals are still moving forward in Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere. 

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