Charleston NAACP officials note Voter ID not in effect this year
Charleston NAACP officials said voters need to know the state’s voter ID law won’t take effect until next year, so South Carolina voters can cast ballots this year as they always have.
To report false info
The NAACP is asking Lowcountry voters to let the organization know about efforts to discourage voters locally.
Specifically, the NAACP wants to hear from any voters who have received a mailing, fax, email, voice mail or text message saying they may not vote if they:
Have unpaid traffic fines.
Are behind on their child support.
Are awaiting trial.
Lack a photo ID.
Arrive at the polls without a credit report.
Voters who receive this type of false information are urged to call 305-8030.
Dot Scott, president of the Charleston NAACP, said the organization has received several calls from people confused about what’s going on in the wake of the recent U.S. District Court ruling.
The court ruled to uphold the state’s new voter ID law but delayed its taking effect until 2013.
Still, some fear voters without a state-issued voter ID might not go to the polls on Nov. 6. She said state and local election officials could do a better job helping get the word out that nothing changes this year.
In a related issue, NAACP First Vice President Joe Darby said the organization also expects to encounter problems from shady groups trying to discourage voters.
In the past, voters have been called and told wrong dates for Election Day, while others have received letters on bogus NAACP stationery that said they needed to bring a credit report to the polls because they couldn’t vote if they had unpaid tickets or child support. That’s not true.
“I think it’s consistent and possibly escalating,” he said of such activity. “There’s a great desire on the part of persons unknown these days to keep people out of the polls. It takes all kinds of forms.”
Meanwhile, voters without a state-issued photo ID can expect to hear from the State Election Commission later this month, spokesman Chris Whitmire said.
The new law requires the state to contact voters without a driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, he added. The mailer will note the new photo ID requirements taking effect on Jan. 1 and how some voters may get an exemption. It will tell others how to get an ID to vote.
Scott also urged voters who are eligible to vote absentee to do so early.
South Carolina allows a broad range of people to vote absentee ballots early, including those 65 or older, students and their spouses and dependents, the physically disabled, those with vacation plans on Election Day, members of the armed services and those unable to vote because they must work on Election Day.
This year, Charleston County moved its in-person absentee voting site to SCANA’s offices at Leeds and Azalea avenues in North Charleston — near its previous absentee voting site but at a place with more parking and better traffic flow.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.