by Chris Haire
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.
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.
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.