COLUMBIA -- If you let your hair go gray or lost a lot of weight, if you're a college student or a senior citizen, or if your job require long shifts, Susan Breslin says you might have trouble voting in future elections, under a legislative proposal that is up for debate.
Breslin is a Folly Beach Democrat who is vehemently opposed to legislation state Republicans are pushing that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls, along with a host of other changes to South Carolina's voting procedures.
Breslin said questions about residency and appearance will clog lines on Election Day and cause some to wind up at a hearing to defend their vote. She said the legislation also would cause trouble for those without photo ID, as well as create problems for people who pull 12-hour shifts or others who want to vote absentee, such as senior citizens or students.
"This isn't about someone else; this is about you," Breslin said.
Lin Bennett, chairwoman of the Charleston County Republican Party, stands just as staunchly on the other side of the issue that is expected to lead to bitter partisan debate on the House floor this week. Bennett said the only reason a voter might have trouble at the ballot box is if that person is trying to cast a fake ballot.
Republicans point to instances when people have allegedly tried to defraud elections, but Democrats contest that there is no proof of widespread deceit.
Bennett said it is absolutely necessary to take steps to protect elections against those in society who are dishonest.
"It's up to the people to select their leaders," she said. "It's not up to a handful of people who want to destroy the integrity of an election."
The House and Senate are considering different versions of legislation that would change voting procedures, although the main purpose of both is to require photo identification at the polls. The House could debate its version as early as Tuesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee -- which comprises half the body -- is scheduled to debate its version of the bill on Tuesday also.
The House version would no longer allow absentee ballots to be requested over the phone. The requests would have to be made in person or by mail to the voter's home county.
The Senate bill also would establish new early voting centers in each county that would open 15 days before an election and close three days before Election Day. The centers would have to be open at least on Saturday.
A voter ID bill was close to becoming law last year, but senators and House members were gridlocked over the details.
Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, said photo identification is needed in everyday life, and requiring it at the polls would allow people to feel more confident in the process. He said he does expect the Senate to approve a voter ID bill if it does include an early voting component.
"I don't think you're going to get one without the other, that's just the way I read the political tea leaves," Campsen said.
Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, said the legislation would make it more difficult for voters.
"The fact is, we don't need it," Gilliard said. "You would think coming out of the midst of a recession, we should be focused on jobs, education and trying to look out for the homeless in our state."