CONTACTS:        Barbara Zia (LWV SC)/ 803/251/2726


                          Kelly Ceballos (LWV US)/ 202 263 1331



 Court Decision Based on Expansive Interpretation of Law

 Today, a U.S. Federal District Court blocked implementation of South Carolina’s new voter photo identification law for the November 6th general election, giving South Carolina voters a big victory.  

The federal three-judge panel approved the law for elections thereafter, but did so under an expansive interpretation of the law.  Specifically, in future elections, voters who do not have a required form of photo ID will still be able to vote so long as they sign an affidavit stating the reason for not having obtained a photo ID.

“We are pleased that this court has applied common sense and blocked the state of South Carolina from requiring photo ID from all eligible voters on November 6th.  We believe it would have caused too much confusion at the polls for voters and poll workers alike,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWVUS).  “In addition, the court has interpreted the law in such a way that voters will not absolutely be required to show a photo ID in order to vote in later elections, in 2013 and beyond. This is a victory for voting rights.”

The League in South Carolina and other states around the country will continue to fight against restrictive voting laws. “We are cautiously optimistic about today’s decision,” stated Barbara Zia, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.  “Voting is the one time all citizens have an equal say in molding our collective future here in South Carolina and across this great country. Barriers such as photo ID threaten that equality.  We will work to ensure that the law is applied fairly and let voters know that a photo ID is not required in 2012.”

“Politicians should not be allowed to manipulate election laws for their own personal gain. It is time for us to move beyond the rhetoric and work to pass laws that will ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can vote and will have their vote counted without any barriers. Nothing less than protecting America’s great democracy is at stake,” concluded Zia.

Originally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) denied preclearance to South Carolina’s restrictive photo voter ID law. The League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC) joined the lawsuit in support of the DOJ decision.