The parties challenging the voter ID provisions of the state’s 2013 election law changes in state court have asked the judge to put the case on hold until after the 2016 presidential primary, saying that only then will the merits of the recently adopted “reasonable impediment” process for voters lacking a photo ID be established.
The request comes in response to the state’s motion to dismiss the case in light of those new provisions which they say moot the case.
Under the new law, a person showing up at the polls without an acceptable form of photo ID could sign a sworn statement indicating the reasons for lacking such an ID and then cast a provisional ballot.
In papers filed with the court last week, the challengers cite the state’s poor implementation of the voter ID law during the November 2014 election and the resulting confusion among voters — many of whom ultimately did not have their votes counted — and argue that the state has shown little interest in improving that implementation going forward.
No updates have yet been made to the State Board of Elections showing the changes, no material detailing the changes have been published and no news of training for official and poll workers has been announced.
Moreover, they say, whether the new changes will actually go into effect is subject to question.
Rep. Michael Speciale, for example, told the Beaufort Observer in late June that he’d be introducing a bill to repeal the “reasonable impediment” provisions.
“You may rest assured that I fully support requiring a photo ID and once this DMV mess is straightened out I will, if no one else does, introduce a bill to scrap the ‘impediment’ exception,” Speciale said, referring to allegations that DMV was charging voters for the “free” voter ID.
In addition to asking for a stay of the state case, the groups and individuals opposing the law are asking the court to allow them to amend their complaint to assert an “as applied” constitutional claim, challenging the state’s implementation of and public education about the new voter ID law.