Transcript: Remarks by House Speaker Bobby Harrell on South Carolina’s new voter ID law

Transcript of remarks by House Speaker Bobby Harrell on South Carolina’s new voter ID law (January 2012): 

South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell. CREDIT:

“Thank you, Governor, and thank you for working so hard on this issue. And thank you to the House members particularly standing behind me who made sure that we got this bill into law.

“To become eligible and to be able to receive Medicaid in South Carolina, you have to have an identification that’s either a United States passport, a military ID, a state-issued ID, or a birth and naturalization U.S. citizenship certification. To get Medicaid eligibility, you have to do that in this state.

“But to vote, the Justice Department said you shouldn’t have to be able to get a similar kind of ID. I think they are absolutely wrong in the position that they took on that.

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“Because in South Carolina, not only do we say you need to have one of those forms of IDs to participate in Medicaid, if you don’t have one of those IDs you can’t. You cannot become eligible.

“But for our voter ID law, we allow you to get one of those IDs for free. To participate in Medicaid, you cannot go get the ID for free.

“The point is we’ve made a voter ID law here that is easy for people to go get the picture ID that they need to go get. And as the governor pointed out, we made sure that folks could go get the ID by – her office – by providing rides for folks.

“Not only are we concerned about the Justice Department and they’re coming after voter ID because we simply think it’s the right thing to do.

“We believe it is clear that the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a similar law – a couple of similar laws. The major difference between the Georgia law and the South Carolina law is that in South Carolina, if you don’t have a picture ID when you go to vote, you can present an affidavit saying that’s who you are and vote. In Georgia, you can’t do that. But they approved the Georgia law. The inconsistency is just unfair.

“Democratic legislature in the state of Rhode Island passed a voter ID law but they weren’t subject to the Voting Rights Act and didn’t have to go get preclearance for theirs.

“Under the Obama administration, we have witnessed an unprecedented misuse of federal resources to interject their ideology on the state issues. Whether you’re talking about the NLRB, illegal immigration or now voter ID, these are state issues. Our efforts to protect our borders and make sure that our citizens’ rights are protected. And this overreaching federal government has been incredible in their efforts to go to impede on our rights as a state.

“The citizens of South Carolina want us to protect the electoral process. South Carolina has a right to protect the electoral process. The federal government is stepping on that right and trying to keep us from being able to do what our citizens clearly want us to do.

“99% of the citizens in South Carolina – registered voters in South Carolina – currently possess a picture ID of the kind that’s required. And for those who don’t have it, we’ve said you can have it for free.

“Instead of approving that, the Justice Department based their decision on severely flawed data from the South Carolina Election Commission. The Election Commission said different numbers at different times. The last one I heard was 240,000 people didn’t have a picture ID. The Department of Motor Vehicles says it’s about 30,000. We know that the 240,000 the Election Commission stated includes 37,000 dead people.

“We need to protect the right to vote in South Carolina. We need to make sure that the person who presents themselves to be voting is the person they say they are. That’s what this is about, and we intend to fight this as hard as we can.

“Thank you very much, Mr. Attorney General, for you efforts to do that, and thank you, Governor.”


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  1. Pingback: AG Eric Holder vows to enforce Civil Rights Act, protect MLK's legacy | What The Folly?!

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