SC’s Photo Voter ID Law: What you need to know to vote

Voters lined up to vote absentee in person in Richland Co. Monday.
Voters lined up to vote absentee in person in Richland Co. Monday.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – When you go to vote on Election Day, be sure to take with you a photo ID because South Carolina’s voter photo ID law is in effect. There are five acceptable forms of photo ID: a South Carolina driver’s license; a South Carolina DMV ID card; a South Carolina voter registration card with photo; a federal military ID; or a U.S. Passport.

There are a couple other forms of ID that are acceptable. Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the State Election Commission, says, “A concealed weapons permit is considered a DMV ID for voting purposes. Your concealed weapon is not allowed in the polling place. That’s specifically prohibited under state law and you’ll see those signs at the polling place, but the CWP is a photo ID for voting purposes.”

And he says a VA benefits photo ID is considered a military ID, so that works too.

Credit: SCVotes.org
Credit: SCVotes.org

“If you don’t have one, there’s still time,” Whitmire says. “Even on Election Day you can get a photo voter registration card from your county voter registration office. So if you can get to your voter registration office today or tomorrow and get one, do that, because it’s going to make the process at your polling place a lot smoother.”

If you don’t have a photo ID you can still vote, but you first have to sign an affidavit saying there’s a “reasonable impediment” to your getting one, like a religious objection to be photographed, a lack of transportation to get one, disability or illness, lack of a birth certificate, work schedule, or family responsibilities. Once you sign that affidavit, you’ll be able to vote a paper provisional ballot.

Whitmire says, “That ballot’s going to count unless someone can prove to the county voter registration elections board that your affidavit is false, that you’re not who you said you were. And since photo ID’s been in effect since January 2013, all of those ballots have counted. So no one’s ever proven to a board that someone’s affidavit is false, and I haven’t even heard of anyone trying.”

If you have a valid photo ID but forget to bring it with you to the polls, you have two choices: go back and get it; or vote a provisional ballot. That provisional ballot will be counted only if you return to the county election board and show your photo ID before the votes are certified, which will be on Friday.

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