Voter suppression efforts were dealt another blow when, on October 10, 2012, a three-judge panel in U.S. District Court delayed implementation of South Carolina’s voter ID law until after the election.
Although the judges found that the law did not discriminate against minorities, they ruled that it could not be properly implemented in the short time before the November election. The judges did not block the law entirely because, after an “evolutionary process,” the law now includes measures that protect the right to vote. For example, the law approved for implementation in 2013 now gives broad leeway to voters who cannot comply with the law; any voter who has an “honest excuse” for not having ID will be able to sign an affidavit and still vote. The State has affirmed that it intends to apply the “honest excuse” rule in the broadest terms in order to ensure that no one is disenfranchised.
The U.S. Department of Justice has affirmed that, if the law does goes into effect in 2013, it will closely monitor implementation to ensure that the law complies with these “broad modifications.”