Registrar’s office ready to issue voter photo IDs
Photo IDs required to vote beginning Jan. 1
UNION — When voters go to the polls in 2013 they will have to present one of five types of photo identification to vote.
In October, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a state law requiring South Carolina voters to present a government-issued identification photo in order to vote. The requirement does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2013, but the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office is already prepared to issue residents with a voter registration photo ID card.
“Beginning Jan. 1 voters will be required to produce a picture ID to vote,” Darlene Pettit, Union County Voter Registrar, said Thursday. “There are five acceptable picture IDs that they can produce when they go to vote.”
Pettit said those IDs are:
• S.C. Driver’s License
• DMV-issued ID card
• Federal Military ID
• U.S. Passport
• A Voter Registration Card with photo
Pettit said if they need it, voters can get their voter registration card with their photo on it at her office beginning Monday. She said both the paper version her office can issue and a more permanent version issued by the state are free.
“If they don’t have any of those other forms of ID, they can come in here,” Pettit said. “We can take their picture and issue them a registration card with their picture on it. We can run off a paper copy here and then order a more durable version from the state which will be sent to them by mail.”
Pettit said voters who already have a voter registration card do not have to get one with their photo on it as long as they have one of the other types of photo identification with them when they go to the polls.
“You don’t have to have your picture on your registration card to vote as long as you have one of the other pieces of ID,” Pettit said. “It’s an option available for those without other forms of ID and it doesn’t cost anything.”
While voters will be required to present a photo ID, Pettit said the law does allow for some exceptions.
“There is a caveat in the law about a ‘reasonable impediment,’” Pettit said. “If you go to the poll and you want to vote but you have a reasonable impediment as to why you don’t have a photo ID, you can sign an affidavit that you could not get a photo ID and vote using a provisional ballot.”
A flier issued by the S.C. Election Commission describes a reasonable impediment as “any valid reason beyond your control, which created an obstacle to obtaining Photo ID.” The flier lists the following as examples of reasonable impediments:
• Religious objection to being photographed
• Disability or illness
• Work schedule
• Lack of transportation
• Lack of birth certificate
• Family responsibilities
• Election within short time frame of implementation of Photo ID law
• Any other obstacle you find reasonable
Pettit cautioned, however, that for the provisional ballot to be counted, a person must provide one of the required photo IDs to the Union County Election Commission before it certifies the election results, usually within two to three days following the election.
For more information about voter photo ID and related matters contact the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office at 864-429-1616.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com