Robert Knight

The most consequential election in our lifetime is still 11 months away, but it’s clear from the Obama administration’s order halting South Carolina’s new photo ID law that the Democrats have already brought a gun to the knife fight.

How else to describe this naked assault on the right of a state to create minimal requirements to curb voter fraud?

On Dec. 23, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez sent a letter ordering South Carolina to stop enforcing its photo ID law. Perez, who heads the Civil Rights division that booted charges against the New Black Panther Party for intimidating voters in Philadelphia in 2008, alleged that South Carolina’s law would disenfranchise thousands of minority voters.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson rejected Perez’s math and explained on Fox News why the law is necessary. The state Department of Motor Vehicles audited a state Election Commission report that said 239,333 people were registered to vote but had no photo ID. The DMV found that 37,000 were deceased, more than 90,000 had moved to other states, and others had names not matched to IDs. That left only 27,000 people registered without a photo ID but who could vote by signing an affidavit as to their identity.

Wilson told me by phone on Thursday that he would file a challenge to the order in federal district court in January. Asked whether he felt South Carolina was being singled out, he declined to speculate on motives. However, citing the National Labor Relations Board’s orders to invalidate the voter-approved union card check amendment and to stop a new Boeing plant, and the Justice Department’s suit to halt the immigration law, he said, “there certainly is a pattern of the federal government overreaching into South Carolina.”

Leading Democrats loudly equate recently enacted photo ID legislation as updated versions of Jim Crow laws that once robbed people of their constitutional right to vote simply because of their race. But photo ID laws and other voter integrity measures cover everyone. Like other states, South Carolina provides photo IDs if a person cannot afford one.

The U.S. Constitution empowers the states to enact voting procedures with minimal input from the national government, such as setting the voting age and election days for federal offices. The Fifteenth and Nineteenth amendments ensure that no one is denied the right to vote based on race or sex.


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.