Haley offers ride to ID-less voters on Sept. 28

Posted by Chris Haire on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 4:53 PM

In an unexpected move, Gov. Nikki Haley has announced that she will indeed offer rides to the DMV to all the men and women who will be yanked off voter rolls once South Carolina's Voter ID law goes into effect.

I hate to say this, but bravo, Nikki, bravo. That was one helluva move. Even though I've cursed your name to the heavens a thousand times, I have to admit that today you have earned my respect.

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According to a report by the Post and Courier's Yvonne Wenger, Haley has ordered the DMV to give free rides to the estimated 178,000 voters in the Palmetto State who do not have a driver's license ... on one day and one day only: Wed. Sept. 28.

You know what that means? If you have business with the DMV, you now know exactly what day to avoid. You've been warned.

Wenger also reports:

Individuals who want a ride can call 1-855-StateID through Sept. 22, said Kevin Shwedo, the director of the Motor Vehicles Department. Over the phone, state officials will go over the documents an individuals needs to get an ID card, which are free to those 17 and older. Those documents are a birth certificate, a Social Security card and a document, such as a utility bill, with the individual's name and address for proof of residency.

For those that lack one of those documents, Shwedo said the DMV officials will discuss how they can get them. Once they have all the documents necessary, the DMV will give them a two-hour window for when they can expect to get picked up on Sept. 28.

Call me crazy, but I think getting a birth certificate and a Social Security card is not something that can be accomplished in six days. Heck, going to the DMV can easily take that long on its own. (Just kidding. If there was one thing that Mark Sanford did, it was to improve wait times at the DMV.)

Hmm. On second thought, it sounds like Nikki has just made another empty promise. Yes, it looks good politically — I can hear her now proclaiming that she was true to her word to offer a ride to the ID-less — but in reality it's nothing more than another plus-sign that Haley can add to the A++ she gave herself a few months back.

When it comes down to it, the battle over the Voter ID law isn't the black-and-white issue that many in the Democratic Party claim it to be. Truth be told, it's more about how the GOP has decided to eliminate a sizable segment of the elderly population from South Carolina's voting rolls.

Dawn Hinshow, of The State, gives an example of how this is the case:

Before the government began discouraging midwifery in the 1970s, a lot of women in rural South Carolina didn't go to hospitals to have their babies, either because of the cost, discrimination or culture. Often, the births were unrecorded, whether a midwife was in attendance or not. In some cases, names were misspelled by illiterate midwives or recorded incompletely when parents couldn't settle on a first name right away.

But having no birth certificate, or having one where the name conflicts with other legal documents, can cause problems today proving one's identification — and getting the photo ID required to get a job, travel, go into public buildings and, in a recent and controversial change in South Carolina, register to vote.

Hinshow adds:

In some cases, people who have never had a problem before must now go to family court to authenticate the names they have used all their lives.

Joseph Williams, a physician who sees mostly elderly patients in Sumter, guessed as many as 20 percent of his 3,000 to 4,000 regular patients have problems with identification. Some only know the year they were born.

"It's extremely common for people who are over 50," said Williams, who is 60. "Record-keeping was poor in our age group."

And that's only the beginning. Hinshow's report is worth your time.

I wonder if Nikki or any of the other members of the SCGOP who supported the Voter ID bill have read it. I doubt they have.

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Not really good, but better than nothing.

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Posted by pugnax on August 31, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Guys, those who need rides are required to call through the 22nd, DMV officials will then discuss the requirements and schedule the appointment. It's all in Wenger's statement, which was quoted in the story.

"Individuals who want a ride can call 1-855-StateID through Sept. 22, said Kevin Shwedo, the director of the Motor Vehicles Department. Over the phone, state officials will go over the documents an individuals needs to get an ID card, which are free to those 17 and older. Those documents are a birth certificate, a Social Security card and a document, such as a utility bill, with the individual's name and address for proof of residency.

For those that lack one of those documents, Shwedo said the DMV officials will discuss how they can get them. Once they have all the documents necessary, the DMV will give them a two-hour window for when they can expect to get picked up on Sept. 28".

What else can we do? While the various parties fight the law, we must do everything possible and get the word out until it's repealed or validated. The communities must ensure that every one is reached and assisted in getting their ID.

I can only hope that we can reach the majority of those in need between now and the 28th.

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Posted by ericloz on August 31, 2011 at 8:20 PM

So, I'm still not clear. Why shouldn't individuals be required to show an ID to vote?

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Posted by JIm on August 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM

I have been voting for a few decades now, I have always been required to show an ID, as well as my Voter card. and the address on their list at the voting poll must match the address on my ID and Voter card..
I suppose now ! the act of responsibility is not required of anyone . the Gov. Federal, State or local is not responsible to hold your hand and explain the laws to you . it is your responsibility to know them....if you want to vote . you are to make sure you obtain the required documents , or have a family member help you with that matter. Signed, Clarkie

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Posted by Clarkie on August 31, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Ericloz,

Wait? You mean, two hours and six days aren't the same thing? I've corrected the error.

Frankly speaking, six days still ain't enough time. Looking over the Social Security Administration website, it appears that the time between applying for a replacement card for a replacement card is 10 days, while the time for foreign workers to get a Social Security Card can take several weeks. So one would think that a first time American-born SS applicant would receive a card sometime after 10 days and up to several weeks. (When it comes to getting a birth certificate, SC DHEC states that it will take two to four weeks or three to five days if the process is expedited. The fee for getting a certificate is $12, $17 for expedited service.)

Let's chalk up my error to trying feverishly to get a post online at the end of the day when my mind was steadfastly focused on hitting the sauce. But there's really no excuse for Haley's failure to investigate the amount of time it takes for a person to apply for a SS card or a birth certificate and to receive it. That is, unless her mind was steadfastly focused on making another appearance on Fox News. Either that or she was planning to pay another impromptu visit to a Michele Bachmann rally.

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Posted by chrishaire on September 1, 2011 at 12:26 AM

Will the ID cards be issued on the spot, after all the hurdles are cleared?

Or is the date of Sept 28 convenient to keep these people un-registered through the upcoming municipal elections?

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Posted by mat catastrophe on September 1, 2011 at 2:31 AM

Clarkie,

In South Carolina, all you have to show is your voter registration. If anybody asked for any more from you, they were being a dick.

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Posted by chrishaire on September 1, 2011 at 6:53 AM

You called it exactly right. Haley was caught out running her mouth, promising to personally give rides to anyone who needed them, so she came up with this publicity stunt. A few people will be able to take advantage of it, and then she'll claim that's evidence that there's no problem. Hypocrite, thy name is Haley.

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Posted by follitics on September 1, 2011 at 9:36 AM

I've worked the polls. You could show EITHER a registration card OR a driver's license. Many people showed both, but it was not required.

The stories on voter ID focus on the 178,000 who are already registered but have no DMV ID (they may have other ID, but it wouldn't be accepted). There's no way of estimating how many people are not currently registered (because they've become 18, or because they've moved here) who will also be prevented from voting because of ID complications.

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Posted by follitics on September 1, 2011 at 10:24 AM

@JIm: there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea, but instead the execution and the motivation.
1. You cannot make people pay to vote... poll taxes have a long and glorious "heritage" in the South and are completely unconstitutional. Until recently, a state-issued photo ID cost money, and thus couldn't be a requirement for voting. The new law makes the photo-bearing Voter IDs free.

2. To most of the readership of this paper by virtue of geography if nothing else, presenting the documents required to get a Voter ID is trivial. I'd further wager that we all have DLs or at least photo IDs (for the moped set), and this is true for most of the country. SC, however, is a backwards mess in most rural areas, and the elderly, rural set and particularly blacks among them don't have those documents and have never needed them. For some it is as simple as having let their DL expire a few years ago, so they need transport to the DMV. For others, those original documents just don't exist for reasons stated above. 180,000 people are expected to fall somewhere in this spectrum.

3. Motivation is a big question mark here: why now? The state is under financial duress, and yet they decided that we NEEDED to spend several million over the next few years to fund this program NOW. The stated reason was voter fraud, of which there are basically no cases to speak of. Registration fraud, a more common but less serious problem, isn't addressed. So it is a solution without a documented problem. It will disproportionately affect democrats, who lose every election in this state as is, so there's not even a pressing political reason.

I'm a veteran that works with the government, so I'm used to showing my ID constantly, but what's normal for me isn't for everyone.

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Posted by factoryconnection on September 1, 2011 at 10:36 AM

This story fails to mention the fact that people with disabilities are specifically excluded from the free ride program. "You must be able to walk" and they will not allow any care givers to ride along with you. Gov Haley is about one bad politician not to even know the laws concerning the disabled.

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Posted by Joseph Butler on September 2, 2011 at 10:04 PM
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