NAACP: New voter ID law is step backward for voter rights

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Concerned voters are seeking advice from the NAACP about the new voter ID law. Some say the law will discourage many voters who don't have a photo ID from heading to the polls.

"I think it's a miscarriage of justice," said Robert Leeper of North Charleston.

Leeper has a photo ID, but said many of his family members do not, and he is concerned about them being able to vote in the future.

According to the South Carolina Elections Commission, more than 180,000 people in the state would be affected by the new voter ID law that was signed on May 18. Supporters say the new bill will help prevent voter fraud.

At a town hall meeting in North Charleston, members of the NAACP said this requirement is a step backward for voter rights, and said discouraged voters won't cast a ballot.

"This is really going back to the bad days of South Carolina when a particular party or group wants to stop you from participating," said Rev. Nelson Rivers, of the NAACP.

Rivers said the new law would affect lower income residents, the elderly and the black community.

It would require voters to have a picture ID, but it still has to be approved by the Department of Justice.

Right now, you can use three forms of ID to vote: A South Carolina drivers license, a DMV ID card or a registration card.

If the legislation is approved, voters can use five forms of ID: A South Carolina drivers license, DMV ID card, federal military ID, passport, or a South Carolina voter registration card with a photo, which has not been created yet.

The Department of Justice has until the end of August to make a decision.

Supporters of the law estimate that it will cost the state around $500,000 to $600,000 to implement it. Opponents say that number will be much higher.

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