The Justice Department blocked South Carolina’s new voter identification law, citing concerns about the law’s effect on African-American voters and setting up a new conflict between the Obama administration and Republican-led state governments.
The South Carolina proposal would require voters to provide state-issued or military photo identification in order to cast a ballot. Current law allows voters to use a printed voter registration card as identification.
Under the federal Voting Rights Act, South Carolina must prove that any changes in voting law don’t have the effect of discriminating against minorities. The state can either change the law or, more likely, challenge the Justice Department’s objection in court. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called the federal action “outrageous,” adding that “we plan to look at every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process.”