BALOG COLUMN: More voting hurdles to clear in S.C.
You have to hand it to our state leadership for their unbridled tenacity, even if it is misplaced and misguided.
They refuse to back down on the contested voter ID law, which would require a photo ID to vote when a voter ID card with a signature has worked just fine up until now.
They've filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for blocking the law.
Of course, they may be the only people who feel strongly about the issue, but so what.
It's not as though there are other things to worry about. Now, if our state's pension fund was taking a nosedive, and our roads were deteriorating, then you could argue that we have some misplaced priorities.
Tilting at windmills
The State Election Commission has already undertaken the arduous task of going through election data to look at votes that appear to have been cast after the voter died, information that suddenly appeared when the DOJ rejected the law in the first place.
And now, a couple of more bills are getting revived to put up more roadblocks to voting.
One, in the Senate, would require voters to prove they are citizens when they register to vote.
Chris Whitmire, director of public information and training for the State Election Commission, said that on the surface, that bill would be more likely to have an effect at the county level in terms of costs. Of course, updating registration documents, websites and brochures doesn't happen magically, so there could turn out to be some cost there as well.
And then there's the House bill meant to more carefully regulate voter registration drives, requiring voter forms to be turned in within five days of signature and levying fines for missed deadlines.
Whitmire has taken calls from state residents who thought they had registered at a registration drive but were turned away from the polls. "That said, the vast majority of people conducting voter registration drives are doing a great service to the voters in South Carolina and for elections in South Carolina," he added.
The preliminary estimate for what this measure would cost the commission is $20,000, Whitmire said, because the commission's software isn't set up to register groups for voter registration drives, or to track due dates or levy fines.
Much ado about nothing
So here we have even more red tape that could not only keep more people from voting but also cost the state money. And that doesn't even count the potential $1 million bill to fight the Justice Department in the first place.
Whitmire said if you want to make sure you're registered, the best thing to do is register yourself by either going to the commission's website to get the form or going directly to your county registration office to fill out the form.
It'll be interesting to see what new roadblocks the state can put up between now and November.
At least we're not wasting taxpayer dollars trying to mandate a college football rivalry through state legislation.
Well, not anymore.