Voter ID law issues highlighted in S.C.

South Carolina is one of seven states with new laws requiring a government-issued photo-ID to vote. The new laws have come with controversy.

The Justice Department has stepped in to block South Carolina's law, saying it could keep some voters away.

Overall, voters in nine states are subject to these laws, which sponsors say will help prevent voter fraud. Critics say the laws place an unfair burden on young, low-income, and minority voters.

CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor reports that the new laws' supporters insist that's not their intent.

"It wasn't directed at minorities. It was directed at the process," said Rep. State Senator Larry Martin, who sponsored South Carolina's photo-ID law in order to "protect the integrity of elections."

"I don't think you wait until there is a problem before you act," Martin said.

His stated goal: Stopping voter fraud.

"I know we didn't intend for that to be discriminatory," Martin said.

But Attorney General Eric Holder says it is discriminatory because black voters in South Carolina are 20 percent more likely than white voters to lack a driver's license or state photo ID card. Junior Glover, 73, is one of them. He's voted for decades, but doesn't have a birth certificate, which is required to get the new ID.

"They don't want to see you vote," Glover said.

Critics say the ID law is a solution in search of a problem.

"Voter fraud in South Carolina is a rare instance. It is not rampant," said Conway Belangia, director of Elections and Voter Registration in Greenville County, S.C.

Belangia has run elections in Greenville County for 20 years. He says a typo or clerical error on a voting record is sometimes misconstrued as fraud.

"The election process in South Carolina a least appears to be extremely clean over the entire state," Belangia said.

But state Motor Vehicles director Kevin Shwedo point outs 37,000 dead people are still on the state's voter registration list. That wasn't all he discovered.

"We saw approximately 956 individuals who had a date of voting after they had died," Shwedo said.

Shwedo can't say where or when the potential voter impersonation may have occurred. He's passed the information along to state investigators.

"More realistically, people voted using their name and credentials," Shwedo said.

The state's photo ID law won't apply in next week's presidential primary. It's on hold for now, pending the Justice Department review.

"I certainly do not want it to be an impediment to anybody that wishes to vote. We just want to make sure these folks are who they say they are," Martin said.

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor was named anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Evening News" in January 2012 and Special Correspondent for "CBS This Morning" in November 2011.

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