COLUMBIA -- Voters, need a ride to the DMV for a photo ID? Gov. Nikki Haley's got you covered.
Haley said critics of the law she signed in May to require voters to bring picture ID to the polls wanted to make an issue where she said she saw none. So, she's decided to call on the Department of Motor Vehicles to give voters a ride on Sept. 28 to their local offices to get a free South Carolina ID card.
An estimated 178,000 registered voters do not have a state-issued photo ID, and some are concerned the new law will stop individuals, especially minorities and the elderly, from voting. The law will not go into effect until the U.S. Department of Justice gives its approval, which is expected before the end of the year.
To vote under the new law, an individual will need a driver's license, a state-issued ID card, a military ID or a passport. New voter registration cards with picture IDs are also planned but are not yet available.
"What I said was, 'If we have to take you ourselves, we are going to make sure that you have the picture ID you need to vote,' " the Republican governor said. "Our goal is to make sure we have more people voting rather than less."
Individuals who want a ride can call 1-855-StateID through Sept. 22, said Kevin Shwedo, the director of the Motor Vehicles Department. Over the phone, state officials will go over the documents an individuals needs to get an ID card, which are free to those 17 and older. Those documents are a birth certificate, a Social Security card and a document, such as a utility bill, with the individual's name and address for proof of residency.
For those that lack one of those documents, Shwedo said the DMV officials will discuss how they can get them. Once they have all the documents necessary, the DMV will give them a two-hour window for when they can expect to get picked up on Sept. 28.
Haley said she expects the cost of the DMV rides to be minimal. It will take staff time and fuel costs, but just how much will depend on the demand, Haley and Shwedo said.
Read more in Thursday's editions of The Post and Courier.
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