Hans von Spakovsky has this piece today at PJ Tatler on South Carolina’s strange decision to go to the Department of Justice for preclearance of a voter ID law. Sources in South Carolina tell me that the submission was made to DOJ only because that’s how they “always do it.” Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and Virginia “always did it that way” too, but were savvy enough to recognize changed circumstances. South Carolina may be ready to yank the submission if trouble appears. But trouble has already appeared. What more might South Carolina need to know to demonstrate the submission is heading for the rocks than the NAACP announcing they are “betting the farm” on an objection? Maybe Democratic members of Congress inserting themselves politically into the process perhaps??? The SC Attorney General could call Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning’s office and listen to the account of the telephone calls from Voting Section lawyer (and former MALDEF lawyer) Elise Shore that pushed Florida toward yanking thier submission. (Read her screed against Georgia Voter ID here, before she moved to DOJ). Every minute and every penny South Carolina spends on the submission to the DOJ is likely a waste of time and taxpayer money.
Those same people who wanted an objection to Georgia’s voter ID are now in charge and will call the shots on South Carolina’s voter ID. The fact that DOJ previously precleared Georgia’s voter ID law as well as Arizona’s ID law is precedent that they will probably do their best to ignore.
The NAACP recently announced it is “betting the farm” that the Holder Justice Department will object to the South Carolina voter ID law.
That’s a safe bet, considering that the new leadership of the Voting Section is comprised largely of former NAACP officials. Why would the state submit its statute to these officials for review when the Voting Rights Act provides for an alternative path — going straight to federal district court? Inexplicably, Attorney General Wilson rejected the federal court option. When the NAACP bets the farm, General Wilson should be concerned that the cards won’t be dealt fairly. If Justice does object to South Carolina’s statute, he will have no one to blame but himself.
Wilson’s colleagues to the south are playing it smarter. Last week, Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning yanked a submission from DOJ that the NAACP targeted and instead went to court. The NAACP also labeled the Florida law as the return of Jim Crow. What did the law do? Move early voting days and require voter registration forms to be turned in by third party groups in a timely fashion. Quite likely, the NAACP’s hyperbole (not to mention its overly cozy relationship with Voting Section attorneys and staff) is what caused Florida to pull the submission from DOJ.