So the governor's office has arranged for the DMV to offer rides to people who need to get state ID cards. They're calling the Sept. 28 event Identification Card Day. (Look for the greeting card line soon.)
The cost will be minimal, according to Kevin Swedo, director of the Department of Motor Vehicles. They're also going to try to help folks get their paperwork straight on the front end.
They picked a Wednesday because it's the slowest day at the DMV, which might be good information for those who need to get or renew a license in the future -- though you can't actually take a road test on Sept. 28.
Of course, without the law, there wouldn't be a need for all this. To recap: The Voter ID law requires people to show a photo ID at the polls. Proponents say we need photo IDs to board planes and make certain purchases, so voting shouldn't be any different. Opponents say the law will disenfranchise minority voters. Records show about 178,000 registered voters in South Carolina don't have a state-issued driver's license or ID card.
The Department of Justice was scheduled to issue a ruling on the law on Monday, but instead asked for more details and more time.
One of the questions from Justice in its four-page response was when and where the new photo voter registration cards would be available. The DOJ has other questions too, such as how voters will be educated and how election officials will be trained on the new law.
A cynical person would point out that this ride program was announced after the DOJ's request for more information was received.
Gov. Nikki Haley did say she would give people rides, though she didn't exactly give specifics, back in July when she signed the law.
She told media that the governor's office received five or six calls from people who needed help getting a photo ID, but not necessarily looking for rides, when the law was enacted. No one at the DMV was able to provided updated numbers of how many calls they'd logged since the program was announced.
Pimp my ride
The ride program has other potential problems.
The group Protection and Advocacy For People with Disabilities Inc. on Thursday took issue with the way the DMV has set up the program, specifically regarding the fact that the DMV says you have to be able walk on your own power to take advantage of the rides.
Some say there's a potential violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act there, as everybody should have access to a voter ID card and everybody should have access to the DMV. The DMV's point is that staff workers may not all have fully accessible vehicles, but it would stand to reason that you can't offer a ride to only some people, so that's clearly something that they'll have to work out.
It'll be interesting to see how many people take advantage of this. Presumably, even if the law is struck down, people will have finally had the chance to rectify lingering problems caused by lack of birth certificates or changed last names or confusing record keeping.
Wonder if they'll say it was worth it.