Transcript: Press conference Q&A on South Carolina’s new voter ID law
Transcript of Q&A on South Carolina’s new voter ID law (January 2012):
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley:
“You know, the thing is, we worked hard to make sure that everybody that wanted to vote did.
“I mean, to have an 800 number and open it up for two weeks and say we will actually pick you up from your home, take you to the DMV, and return you back. There’s not much more we can do than that. And to have only less than 30 say we want to do this and to not have a charge tied it? You know, we can’t pick people up and say we’re going to make you do this.
“But what we can say is we have proven that we want every person in South Carolina to have the chance to vote.”
Question: “Has there been any documented cases where somebody (inaudible)…?”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley:
“I mean I think in South Carolina they have always had certain areas where they have had questionable actions, where they thought things were wrong.
“I mean, you know, if you look back at it, people are always saying well tell us why we shouldn’t? I’m telling [you] tell me why we shouldn’t show picture ID in terms to vote?
“I mean, this is the one thing we want to protect the integrity of.
“And if we’re saying that the numbers are wrong from the Elections Commission, if we’re saying that we want to protect the integrity – this is about accountability. This is making sure that every person that goes to the polls is taking care of that one right to vote. And accountability should matter, whether it’s voting, whether it’s with anything else. That’s what we’re fighting for. That’s what this does.”
Question: “How much do you want to spend on (inaudible)…?”
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson:
“Well, that depends on the Department of Justice. I’m not prepared to talk about the legal case or the cost of the legal case at this time.
“But only to reiterate what the Speaker highlighted is that you have a situation here where out of 239,333 people who the Election Commission has alleged have a voter registration but no photo ID. 37,000 of them are deceased. 91,000 of them no longer live in the state and, in fact, are registered somewhere else. 20,000 of them are actually registered but their names are listed differently. If your name is Robert, they might have Bob on the DMV list. So there are huge discrepancies. There’s one person on the Election Commission’s list that’s 130 years old.
“At the very least, this debate – and we can all agree – is highlighting the need to identify. I did not know there were 37,000 registered dead people in South Carolina until this debate began.
“So what we’re doing right now is we’re going back and looking at those lists. We’re scrubbing them. We’re auditing them.
“And it’s very difficult – and I said it earlier – it’s very difficult to prove a negative.
“But I can tell you our history of our state is filled with voter irregularities against both parties and all people from all walks of life.
“Our job is to ensure that the voters believe – that the people in South Carolina believe – that the process is sound and that when they go and vote for a person in elected office, their vote is being counted and that that election has a certain level of integrity to it, that the people believe that the people who are actually elected were elected fairly.
“There are people who were elected in the past where you would have 100 to 140 absentee ballots submitted in the 11th hour with an X on the line from 100 some odd people who allegedly couldn’t spell their names. I don’t know whether or not that was legitimate. I don’t know that there are 140 people in that election who couldn’t write their name, but we’ll never know because there’s nothing in place to have someone verify by an affidavit they are who they said they are.
“I will defend to the death a person’s right to vote, and I will attack any law that would prohibits that right or prevents that right, but this law is not it.
“And like the Governor said, why would you not want to have the same protections on something as precious as a vote that you would place on prescription medication from a pharmacist? That is my question.
“And I might add, the state of Georgia’s had this law on the books for about five years. I have yet someone show me a case where a complaint has been filed where someone’s vote was suppressed in that state. And as the Speaker said, their law is not as good as our law and does not afford the same level of protection.
“But back to your question as to cost, right now we are at the preliminary stages and I don’t want to opine as to facts that I don’t have in front of me yet. So at this time, I’m going to decline to guess.
“But I can tell you this right now. We attempted to go through the process with the Department of Justice. We also attempt to continue to cooperate with the Department of Justice. They have asked for additional information regarding the Election Commission’s numbers. And so we’re going to continue to cooperate with them. But we’re not going to not avail ourselves to the right to litigate and we’re going to certainly do that as well.”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley:
“So just to close this up, what I will tell you is my question to the naysayers is what are you scared of?
“We have to show picture ID to pick our kids up from school. We have to show picture ID to transfer money.
“We have to show picture ID if we’re using our check card or if we’re getting on a plane or for buying Sudafed.
“What are you scared of?
“We’re not going to take the time to try and figure it out. This is common sense legislation. This is doing what’s right by the people of South Carolina.
“We intend to fight what was passed that was the will of the people, and we intend to win.”
- Governor.SC.gov: Gov. Haley, AG Wilson, Speaker Harrell, State Sen. Bryant speak about voter ID (YouTube)
- Governor.SC.gov: Contact Gov. Nikki Haley
- Attorney General Alan Wilson’s website
- WhatTheFolly.com: AG Eric Holder vows to enforce Civil Rights Act, protect MLK’s legacy
- Justice.gov: Transcript of Attorney General Eric Holder’s remarks at the King Day at the Dome on Jan. 16, 2012
- Justice.gov: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
- Justice.gov: Letter from Assistant AG Thomas Perez objecting to South Carolina’s new voter ID law (PDF)
- RenewtheVRA.org: Voting rights in South Carolina 1982 – 2006 (PDF)
- SCStateHouse.gov: Section 7-13-710 voter identification provision
- NCSL.org: National Conference of State Legislatures – Voter identification requirements state by state
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Remarks by Gov. Nikki Haley on South Carolina’s voter ID law
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Remarks by state AG Alan Wilson on South Carolina’s new voter ID law
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Remarks by House Speaker Bobby Harrell on South Carolina’s new voter ID law
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Remarks by State Sen. Kevin Bryant on South Carolina’s new voter ID law