A federal court upheld South Carolina's voter identification law on Wednesday, but delayed implementation until 2013.
The ruling by a three-judge panel said the law was approved because citizens can vote without a photo ID if they state why they do not have a photo ID. The judges also said the law makes it easier for voters to get a qualifying ID card than under existing law. They also said the law was not enacted for a discriminatory purpose.
Attorneys with the Justice Department had argued that the law violated the federal Voting Rights Act.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson hailed the ruling as a major victory for the state and its election process.
"It affirms our voter ID law is valid and constitutional under the Voting Rights Act," Wilson said in a statement. "The fact remains, voter ID laws do not discriminate or disenfranchise; they ensure integrity at the ballot box."
South Carolina's existing voter ID law was enacted in 1988, which required voters to present one of three forms of ID at the polling place - a South Carolina driver's license, a South Carolina DMV photo ID card or the non-photo voter registration card given to all registered voters in South Carolina.
The amended law that was passed in 2011 said the law's purpose is to confirm the person presenting himself to vote is the elector on the poll list. It also added passports, federal military photo ID cards and the newly created photo voter registration card as qualifying forms of identification.
The photo voter registration cards can be obtained at county election offices.
Because voters who do not have a photo ID are still permitted to vote, they must state in an affidavit the reason for not having the proper identification.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:31:29 GMT
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