South Carolina’s Voter ID law had its first test on Tuesday in the small town of Branchville in Orangeburg County, and apparently passed it without incident. Voters interviewed by Post and Courier reporter Schuyler Kropf generally had little if any problem with producing a picture ID as a prerequisite for voting.
And who’s surprised? Picture IDs are broadly used by citizens for a variety of purposes, official and otherwise, including for the purchase of some widely used over-the-counter medicines.
As voter Gayle Ott put it, “We’ve always had to show a piece of paper, so I didn’t see any difference.”
She was referring to the voter registration card that previously was one way for a voter to establish his or her identity at the polls.
Eighty-five-year-old Mariah Pryor put it another way. Without a picture ID, “People don’t know if I’m Mariah Pryor or not Mariah Pryor.”
According to Mr. Kropf’s report, some voters weren’t aware that the voter ID law had gone into effect on Jan. 1. So there was some grumbling among those who had to return to their cars to retrieve their driver’s licenses.
A broader test of the law’s application will occur in the March primary for the First Congressional District. But the Branchville election provides a small sigh of relief about the negligible effects of the controversial voter ID law.
Some critics contend that its unstated goal is to disenfranchise minority voters, rather than to provide voter security. But there was no evidence of nefarious intent in Branchville Tuesday.
And the broad requirements for photo IDs in the 21st century, suggest that the practical impact will be minimal.