Voter drive bill may be dead
A bill that would place new requirements on those conducting voter registration drives in South Carolina may be dead.
Its sponsor, Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach, moved Thursday to recommit the bill to the House Judiciary Committee, and it passed on a voice vote.
State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, has opposed the bill and said it appeared to be losing support.
As far as Thursday's action, he said, "Usually when that happens, that means a bill is dead. I'm not 100 percent sure that's the case here."
The decision to send the bill back to the drawing board came after opponents to the bill had collected more than 4,000 signatures from all over the state.
The League of Women Voters of South Carolina also has indicated that the bill's passage likely would end its efforts to hold voter registration drives. The bill would require the league and others conducting registration drives to register with the state.
It also calls for a $50 fine for anyone who turns in a voter registration application to their local elections office more than 48 hours after it was completed.
There would be a $100 fine for each application collected before the voter registration deadline, but handed in after that date.
And the bill calls for $500 fines for each application collected that is not turned into a county voter registration office.
Cynthia Rosengren, a retired Mount Pleasant engineer who led the petition drive against it, said she was encouraged by Thursday's events, but she is not celebrating yet.
She noted that South Carolina recently ranked 42nd nationally in the percent of its voting-age population that has registered to vote. "We should be striving to improve our ranking, not lowering it further," she said.
The state has no hard figures on problems stemming from voter registration drives, though it has seen examples of voters who appear at the polls on election day but who are not on the rolls.
The bill is similar to one that passed recently in Florida and is subject to a federal lawsuit there.