Perspective: WIS editorial on voting legislation

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Voting is the essence of democracy.  The General Assembly is considering changes in our state election laws that would establish a 15-day early voting period before elections.  That's a good idea, because it makes it easier for more people to vote.  But legislators also are working on a bill to phase in over two years a requirement that every voter produce a state-issued photo ID before voting.

I have a problem with that.  We already have to provide a voter registration card or other ID at the polls. And election officials say about 7-percent of South Carolina's registered voters don't have a state-issued photo ID such as a driver's license.

Some legislators say the voter ID requirement is needed to prevent fraud.  But local election officials say there's no evidence that voter fraud is a problem in our state. And requiring more than 170,000 people -- including many poor, disabled and elderly voters -- to get a photo ID seems likely to discourage voters from casting their ballots.  Voter ID is a solution in search of a problem.  If it ain't broke, why fix it?

That's my perspective.  What's yours?

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.