WASHINGTON (AP/WCSC) - A panel of three federal judges in Washington has upheld South Carolina's voter identification law, but says the state cannot put it in practice until 2013.
The judges say in their unanimous ruling that time is too short to put the law in effect ahead of the Nov. 6 elections.
The law requires those wanting to vote in South Carolina to show one of five types of photo identification in order to cast a ballot. The judges say the law does not discriminate or wipe out voting rights gains of African-Americans.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson issued the following statement:
"Today's ruling by the three judge panel is a major victory for South Carolina and its election process. It affirms our voter ID law is valid and constitutional under the Voting Rights Act. The fact remains, voter ID laws do not discriminate or disenfranchise; they ensure integrity at the ballot box.
This ruling also affirms South Carolina's voter ID law should have been pre-cleared by the U.S. Justice Department. We will work diligently to implement this law for all future elections."
South Carolina's law was the first voting law in nearly 20 years that the Department of Justice refused to OK.