From Media Matters for America -- March 13, 2012:
Fox's Fraudulent Defense Of South Carolina's Voter ID Law
In a January 3 segment on Fox News' Fox & Friends, correspondent Jim Angle promoted a number of falsehoods and misleading claims about voter ID laws and the Justice Department's action preventing one such law from being implemented in South Carolina.
Angle Left Out Justice Department's Rationale For Blocking South Carolina Law
Angle Provided South Carolina's Rebuttal But Not DOJ's Reasoning For Stopping SC Voter ID Law From Taking Effect. From the January 3 edition of Fox & Friends:
ANGLE: There would be one more new law in South Carolina except that Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department recently blocked it. State officials are challenging the move in court, noting the IDs are free and that no voter is turned away.
ALAN WILSON (South Carolina Attorney General): In our law, the person can show up to the polling place the day of the election. They can basically sign an affidavit stating they had a reasonable impediment while they didn't have a photo ID. And the presumption's against the state. Their vote will be counted. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/3/12]
DOJ: South Carolina Failed To Meet Burden To Prove Their New Law Would Not Abridge Right To Vote On Account Of Race, As Required By Voting Rights Act. In a letter to South Carolina Assistant Deputy Attorney General C. Havird Jones, Jr., U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote:
Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the submitting authority has the burden of showing that the proposed changes have neither the purpose nor the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. Georgia v. United States, 411 U.S. 526 (1973); Procedures for the Administration of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 28 C.F.R. 51.52(c). The voting change at issue must be measured against the benchmark practice to determine whether it would "lead to a retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise." Beer v. United States, 425 U.S. 130, 141 (1976).
Until South Carolina succeeds in substantially addressing the racial disparities described above... the state cannot meet its burden of proving that, when compared to the benchmark standard, the voter identification requirements proposed in section 5 of Act R54 will not have a retrogressive effect. Because we conclude that the state has failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that section 5 of Act R54 will not have a retrogressive effect, we do not make any determination as to whether the state has established that the proposed changes to its voter identification requirements were adopted with no discriminatory purpose. [Department of Justice letter to South Carolina, 12/23/11, emphasis added]
DOJ: South Carolina's Data Indicate Minority Registered Voters "Nearly 20% More Likely To Lack DMV-Issued ID Than White Registered Voters." From the letter:
In assessing the impact of the proposed photo identification requirements in section 5 of Act R54, we turn first to the data that the state has provided concerning registered voters within the state. The most recent voter registration data available from the State Election Commission indicate that, as of October 1, 2011, there were a total of 2,701,843 registered voters in the state, of whom 69.6% were white and 30.4% were non-white. These data also show that of the total number of registered voters in the state, 239,333 (or 8.9%) did not possess DMV-issued photo identification (either a driver's license or a non-driver's photo ID card) that would satisfy the requirements under Act R54. When disaggregated by race, the state's data show that 8.4% of white registered voters lacked any form of DMV-issued ID, as compared to 10.0% of non-white registered voters. In other words, according to the state's data, which compare the available data in the state's voter registration database with the available data in the state's DMV database, minority registered voters were nearly 20% more likely to lack DMV-issued ID than white registered voters, and thus to be effectively disenfranchised by Act R54's new requirements. We note that the voter registration data matched against the DMV database, and provided to us by the state, does not include several categories of existing registered voters listed as inactive voters, and hence, the number of registered voters without DMV-issued ID may well be higher than even these numbers suggest.
Put differently, although non-white voters comprised 30.4% of the state's registered voters, they constituted 34.2% of registered voters who did not have the requisite DMV-issued identification to vote. Non-white voters were therefore disproportionately represented, to a significant degree, in the group of registered voters who, under the proposed law, would be rendered ineligible to go to the polls and participate in the election. [Department of Justice letter to South Carolina, 12/23/11, emphasis added]