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Voters cast their ballot for the nation Voters cast their ballot for the nation's first presidential primary, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, at the town hall in Derring, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)  

State lawmakers: SC voter ID law would prevent dead people from voting

Paul Conner
Deputy Editor
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      Paul Conner

      Paul Conner is Deputy Editor with The Daily Caller. Previously, he was a contributing writer for four years with The Greenville News covering high school sports in Upstate South Carolina. A Palmetto State native, he is a graduate of North Greenville University.

Reacting to two reports of voter fraud in two early primary states, state legislators say South Carolina’s new voter ID law would prevent voters from getting ballots under the names of dead people.

The Daily Caller published an exclusive video Wednesday showing multiple New Hampshire precincts handing out ballots to citizen journalists who used the names of dead people. In South Carolina, the state DMV director said Wednesday that records show 900 dead people may have voted in past elections.

“Absolutely,” Republican state Sen. Kevin Bryant told The Daily Caller, when asked whether South Carolina’s law would prevent such examples of fraud. “I guess New Hampshire doesn’t have a voter ID law, or they wouldn’t be able to do that.”

The bill, passed last May and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley, would require voters to show state-issued photo identification. The Department of Justice blocked the law in December, saying a disproportionate number of minorities do not have photo IDs, but state Attorney General Alan Wilson promised Tuesday to challenge that decision.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department must approve any changes to the state’s voting laws because of South Carolina’s troubled racial history.

“If somebody tried to vote for a deceased person, all they would have to do today is walk in with their registration card that has no picture on it, put down the card and vote,” Greg Foster, spokesman for state House Speaker Bobby Harrell, told TheDC. “If that person had to show a photo ID, it would make it very difficult to vote as a dead person in our state.”

Bryant warned that “it’s certainly a possibility” that South Carolina could see voting shenanigans in its Jan. 21 primary.

“The Justice Department calls this ‘voter suppression.’ I counter with exactly the opposite, because if you go cast your vote and then somebody else casts a fraudulent vote, they have suppressed your vote,” Bryant said. “So this prevents voter suppression, and it makes sure that those who vote are eligible and qualified. It’s the most basic right that we have in this country, and it needs to be protected.” (RELATED: Former Rep. Artur Davis on NH: ‘Voter fraud is common’)

Wilson is expected to use the most recent examples of voter fraud in making his case to the Justice Department, but it’s not clear how strong his case will be. In the November 2010 general election, over 1.3 million South Carolinians turned out to vote, according to George Mason University’s U.S. Elections Project. 900 votes across multiple elections is a drop in the bucket in comparison, but legislators say that any such fraud must be addressed.

“Preventing fraud and ensuring ballot integrity are the reasons why we pursued stronger protections in our laws for voter ID,” Foster said. “So obviously the concern is, dead people are voting. That is serious fraud.”

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