SC attorney general sues government for blocking voter ID law

Published: Feb. 7, 2012 at 6:20 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2012 at 8:58 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - South Carolina's top prosecutor says the U.S. Justice Department was wrong to block South Carolina from requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification to vote.

Attorney General Alan Wilson asks a judge to overturn the decision by the federal government in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The Justice Department in December rejected South Carolina's law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. The agency said the law didn't meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices preventing blacks from voting and requires South Carolina to get federal permission for every change to state election laws.

It was the first voter ID law to be refused by the federal agency in nearly 20 years. Wilson says South Carolina's law doesn't discriminate against any voters.

"The Department of Justice followed the letter and the spirit of the law when it rejected South Carolina's discriminatory voter ID law," said Nancy Abudu, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project."Now that the state is essentially challenging that decision, we will look to intervene in the case in order to protect minorities' voting rights and help uphold the Voting Rights Act. Instead of fighting for this law in court, South Carolina and other states should focus on expanding the right to vote."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.