Federal Judges Uphold South Carolina Voter ID Law

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A panel of federal judges in Washington, D.C., has upheld South Carolina's controversial voter ID law, but says the state can't implement it until 2013. In a unanimous decision, the panel said there wasn't enough time to implement the law ahead of the Nov. 6 elections. The judges also said the law doesn't discriminate against racial minorities.


And we have news about one more court decision today. A federal court here in Washington, D.C., has ruled that South Carolina's new voter ID law can go into effect, but not until next year.


The law requires voters to show government-issued photo ID at the polls. Today, the three-judge panel found that it will not discriminate against minority voters who are less likely to have ID. That is because of one provision in the law. It allows voters without ID to cast a provisional ballot, if they face what's deemed reasonable impediment to getting ID.

SIEGEL: The court says that provision should address concerns that voters will be disenfranchised. It was those concerns that led the Justice Department to block the law from going into effect last year. Today, state officials in South Carolina called the decision a major victory.

CORNISH: But civil rights groups also declared a victory, noting that voters won't have to show a photo ID this year. The court says there's too little time to put the law into effect before November, without causing confusion at the polls.


Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from