Analysis

Free Photo IDs Issued to SC, MS Voters

Between December 2012 and January 2014, the South Carolina Election Commission issued approximately 13,000 photo identification cards to registered voters with no other acceptable form of ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. The first statewide election in which state voters will be required to present photo IDs at the polls will be in November 2014.

Statewide, the commission issued identification cards to about 0.4 percent of 2.9 million registered voters. The most cards—2,269—were issued in Richland County, representing 0.9 percent of the county’s 243,633 voters. The second-highest number of cards—1,912—were issued in Darlington County, which has 42,125 registered voters, meaning 4.5 percent of Darlington’s registered voters received cards.

A similar program was launched in Mississippi in January 2014. That state will begin requiring photo ID at the polls during its June 2014 primary. As of Feb. 9, 2014, only about 100 cards had been issued in the state, which has approximately 1.9 million registered voters. Mississippi spent $226,000 on cameras and equipment to produce the cards and the campaign to inform voters.

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