Not that Vincent didn’t have a point…

Vincent Sheheen’s history may be a little shaky, but he has a point when it comes to crying out against his less favorite faction.

Not long before his release today about Independence Day, I received this from the SC Senate GOP:

Fighting Back!

The only way we are going to get rid of Obamacare is to defeat Barack Obama
Likewise, it’s looking increasingly like the only way we’re going to get Voter ID is to get a new U.S. Attorney General and a new President.

The Justice Department has once again blocked the implementation of the our Voter ID Law – the number one way we have to fight back against voter fraud.
You can read more about it here.

It’s implementation was blocked – once again – by Eric Holder, the man ironically just held in contempt of Congress

We need YOUR help to fight back. We have to make sure solid conservatives are elected to ALL levels of government so we can push back against this unwarranted federal intrusion.

LIKE this post if you want to send a message to Obama and Holder that we are not going to stand for them ignoring the rule of law any more!

Gentlemen, if that’s how you justify yourselves, then you’re not good for much. In fact, you are less than useful — you’re harmful.

Voter ID — whether Republicans or Democrats are trying to stir us up about it — is a big waste of time, something that is deeply important to the parties themselves, less so to our state and country.

And Obamacare, imperfect as it is, is the ONLY vehicle anywhere for addressing the dire need to reform our dysfunctional system for paying for healthcare in this country. Anyone who strives to repeal it without a credible alternative ready to instantly take its place (one that not only addresses the real problems, but is politically viable) is acting in direct opposition to the interests of this nation and its people.

And that is unforgivable.

Or, as I said, worse than useless.

I mean, really, that’s it? Voter ID, and repealing the only health care reform going? That’s the case you make as to why people should vote for you? That’s pathetic.

115 thoughts on “Not that Vincent didn’t have a point…

  1. Silence

    @ Burl – wasn’t it Groucho Marx who sang that? In “Horsefeathers” I think.

    Maybe the Ramones sang it too, but I’m not familiar with much of their catalog.

  2. bud

    The sheer stridency of the GOP in pushing this voter ID thing suggests that it can only be for the purpose of voter suppression. Mind you I don’t have any philosophical problems with requiring voter ID if there really is a problem with voter fraud. But fom crimy sake there is absolutely no need for this. Voter fraud is almost a non-event.

    Yet that doesn’t stop people from saying there is. I was watching a political show the other night when one of the pro-voter suppression supporters cited South Carolina as proof of the need for this by using the now discredited “dead people voting” nonsense pushed by election officials and the DMV. When all the research was properly done not one single dead person fraduelently voted. Yet it is still being used to defend voter suppression laws.

    The GOP indeed has nothing to run on this time around except for the economy. With a new labor report due out on Friday that may be all they need. In the meantime they spin on and on about voter id laws and healthcare. What a pity when one political party falls so low.

  3. Brad

    The Voter ID “issue” shows us what we get when laws are made by ideologues (which is why the Framers SAID they were against factions)…

    From their respective, ideological points of view (setting aside the obvious interest each party has in getting its way, because each sees its position as the one most likely to help it win elections), their respective positions are unassailable: Who, indeed, would be against preventing voter fraud? Who, indeed, would erect barriers that denied some people their right to vote?

    But the fact is, you can’t achieve a perfect result here. You’re either going to tighten up election security by making it hard for some people to vote, or you’re going to keep things loosy-goosy in order to let everyone vote.

    Here’s the way a pragmatist looks at it: There are practically no cases of voter fraud, and practically no one who can’t get a picture ID. Looked at neutrally, the voter fraud “problem” isn’t great enough to deny even one citizen the right to vote. Conversely, the infinitesimal number of people who would be adversely affected by this ID requirement is so tiny that they don’t constitute a persuasive argument against a very reasonable ID requirement.

    So… I end up where I’ve been all along: Urging our lawmakers to forget about this, and spend their time and energy debating real, urgent problems facing society as a whole. For a change.

  4. Walter

    I got an email from someone who was complaining that the health care bill required all Americans to have a computer chip implanted in them to track where they went and what their medical history was. When I explained to this person that the only thing in the health bill was a section of monitoring those with pacemakers and other electronic devices, he told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. It is obvious that opponents of the health bill will do anything to scare voters. Whether it be that bill or voter ID, one needs to be aware and not be fooled by the boogey man.

  5. Brad

    Of course, even if I believed that stuff, it wouldn’t convince me.

    Tell me that there’s a chip you can put under my skin that will give health care providers instant access to my whole health history, I’ll say, “When can I get one?”

    That’s because I am not clinically paranoid, or fearful of my shadow…

  6. Brad

    And if someday I find myself in the position of being hunted by a totalitarian government a la Fahrenheit 451, I’ll dig that sucker out with my KA-BAR survival knife, and implant it in a squirrel or something.

  7. Silence

    @ bud – there’s all sorts of voter fraud, all different types too. Not all of it comes from a lack of ID. For instance, some years ago when the city and the county voted on merging into a metro government, all the votes from Greenview were “lost”. So the largest precinct in Columbia didn’t vote. That’s one type of voter fraud that happens.

    Places with same day registration also have a boatload of fraud.

    What I don’t understand is why we don’t just get one common government issued ID and use it for voter registration, a driver’s license, ID, student ID, taxpayer ID, whatever else ails you. I can remember my SSN, but I’m sure I couldn’t tell you my SCDL# without looking. We could just have one department of public records and roll voter registration, the DMV, etc. into it.

    Isn’t the economy enough to run on? I think it looks bad for Obama, very bad indeed. I do think he’ll win though, and not through voter fraud. I think the Dems will do a very good job of making the case to their constituency and getting them to the polls – people who don’t wanna work, want free stuff, want to tax the rich, spread the wealth around, those sort of folks.

    The unemployment rate in Europe (average) is about 2-3% points higher than here, so why are we emulating their policies again? If we need to pick one Euro-policy to emulate, let’s all have more vacation and time off.

  8. bud

    The unemployment rate in Europe (average) is about 2-3% points higher than here, so why are we emulating their policies again?

    Exactly. The Europeans are actively engaged in austerity measures. The austerity measures are failing miserably. And the party pushing austeriy? You got it big guy, The G O P.

  9. bud

    With the violence in Iraq continuing, the economy festering, the healthcare of 30 million people in jeopardy we need to understand what’s at stake in this election. Do we return to the failed, elitist politics as embodied by the spirit of George W. Bush via Mitt Romney? Or do we continue with the small, but pragmatic steps toward a more peaceful, healthier and fairer society under the guiding hand of our current hands-on president? We really do have a clear choice this time around.

  10. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    @Silence– I like the idea of one standard national ID, but do you think the Commerce Clause can justify such heresy?

  11. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    I also like the idea on one computerized medical record. I mean, I’m getting old enough to where I might miss something on those extensive forms each doctor I see wants me to fill in, and I have found some doozy mistakes in how they get entered into the various systems.

    An EMT or ER doc could instantly see what meds you were on, what conditions you have–which might save your life!

  12. Scout

    Silence, I would think the situation you describe would best be considered election fraud rather than voter fraud. Voter fraud calls up the connotation that something deceitful has happened at the level of the individual voter. Losing an entire precinct is something else. Neither is good, mind you. But fraud at the individual voter level is what would seem to necessitate the need for a picture ID. I know many see acquiring a picture ID as a non-problem – and that may very well be the case – but I can’t be sure. Some say it is a hardship – and maybe they are lying. But this much I do know – in the rural poverty of remote SC, in general, many things that most city dwellers take for granted are not nearly as easy. As ridiculous as it may seem to educated city dwellers, it is not inconceivable to me that getting a picture ID may be a hardship for poor elderly rural folks. So in the absence of a demonstrated problem with voter fraud, why not err on the side of not excluding people, just in case it is more of a hardship than you personally can imagine. That is my position. Show me for sure that voter fraud is a significant problem or show me for sure that getting a picture ID is not a problem, and I’ll reconsider.

    Also, which European policies do you think we are emulating? just curious.

  13. Brad

    You just like her on account of Atticus raising her to be such a bleeding heart.

    Just kidding. I think Scout is one of our more thoughtful participants. Maybe because I agree so often…

  14. Joanne

    So…Facebook is now the mouthpiece of the GOP?

    —“LIKE this post if you want to send a message to Obama and Holder that we are not going to stand for them ignoring the rule of law any more!”

    Really? I don’t think the Dems can see it unless they are “friends,” right?

  15. Silence

    @ Kathryn – a computerized medical record would be a good idea. There are several pilot efforts to that end, but it would make good sense to do.

    Of course one day some local political party flunkey/gov’t employee would email the records to his personal account….

    Also, we already have a national ID, the “Passport” and I remember some hubbub about state ID’s needing to meet a federally mandated standard to be accepted for air transportation. Men also have to register for Selective (indiscriminate, actually) Service, so every 18 year old gets a selective service card, which is an ID, although it doesn’t have a photo. Same with a Social Security card for everyone. You can be sure that with all of the federal highway funds spent, there’s a federal nexus there somewhere… In this case, I wouldn’t object. One smart card – that’s all, just load all of the data up.

    @ Scout – and I reverse the proposal back to you: Show me for sure that getting a picture ID is a problem, and we’ll drop the requirement. 😉

    Personally I’d like to see everyone’s fingers dyed purple like they do in Iraq. “Oh, your finger is already purple? You can’t vote again today.”

    Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.

    As to the difference between voter fraud and election fraud, that’s just a matter of scale. I’d be willing to bet that where there is voter fraud, it’s not a singular case, but that it is actively organized by a local politician or ward heeler.

    Ask me sometime about my theory of how Alvin Greene got nominated. It all comes down to the way the Democratic party operatives work at the precinct level.

    @ bud – I don’t think that the Europeans are actually austere at this point, find me some data.

  16. Karen McLeod

    @Silence, but does an ID keep any but the most individual voter fraud from happening? And where’s the evidence that the kind of voter fraud that an ID can remedy is happening? Unless/until we get evidence that an ID is needed to stop something that’s actually happening, I don’t understand why we should make it even moderately difficult for a person to vote.

    @Scout, I like your comment.

  17. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – You sided against SC residents having to get a picture ID in order to vote and then you write, “I like the idea of one standard national ID”, would it include a picture?

  18. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    I didn’t say I felt a standard national ID should be required to be able to vote, unless the government can assure that every eligible voter gets one at no difficulty to the voter. Voting rights trump identification convenience.

  19. Kathy

    If a photo ID isn’t required of Medicare and Medicaid patients, why isn’t it? Wouldn’t that help to eliminate the fraudulent use of those government programs? Why don’t voter registration cards have a picture? I’ve wondered that for decades.

    I’ve worked at the polls many times and seen people try to pull a lot of different types of “shenanigans.” However, the most appalling thing to me is when the mentally handicapped are “voted” by someone else. I know. I know. Who has the authority to say that certain people can’t vote just because they have an IQ of 60, blah, blah, blah. For political parties to use such people to gain more votes is despicable.

    I live in a poor, rural area and fail to see why it would be so difficult for anyone to obtain a photo ID. The same people who bus voters to the polls can bus them to get a photo ID. And, no, I am not a Republican. I used to be, but George W. Bush and Mark Sanford cured me. If Trikki Nikki stays around much longer, I might decide to live in a cave. But right now, I’m an independent.

  20. Silence

    @ Kathy – Thank you for your service working the polls. I also wonder about the medicare/medicaid fraud issue.

    At my local polling place people go back and forth all day trotting folks over from the nearby old-age home and “helping” them to vote.

    Also at my local ward they show (black) people how to vote straight ticket democrat, but have never once offered to show me how to vote straight ticket for either party. I almost called about that one, but got lazy and didn’t do it.

    One of my acquaintances, a landscaper who may or may not employ only fully documented workers, said that they all go and use fake names at the hospital to make it easier to avoid being billed. Are illegals going to be covered under the new health plan?

  21. bud

    @ Scout – and I reverse the proposal back to you: Show me for sure that getting a picture ID is a problem, and we’ll drop the requirement.

    This is a burden of proof issue. Scout has no affirmative duty to prove getting an ID is a problem. The burden of proof is on those who indicate there is a problem NOT requiring a picture ID.

  22. bud

    Are illegals going to be covered under the new health plan?

    By law EVERYONE gets treated when they come into an ER with a health emergency. That means they are treated now and have been for many years under the old system. It’s a moot point whether they are covered under the Affordable Care Law. We already pay for their treatment.

  23. Silence

    @ bud – I thought the point was that it would be cheaper to cover and treat folks than for them just to show up and use the E.R. as their primary source of care…

    I don’t dispute that they already get treated. Or that they should.

  24. Mark Stewart

    Silence’s comment about the purple “I voted” finger and Kathy’s comment about the nefarious voter precinct actions are informative of the fact that voter fraud does occur. And also of the fact that a voter ID requirement isn’t any kind of solution.

    It amuses me that the Republican party is both pushing ID’s and relaxed vote at your convenience changes. I think there is no greater potential for meaningful voter fraud than vote by mail schemes. Yes, it is convenient to not to have to go to the polls on election day; but there is a significant benefit to that simultaneous event which should not be overlooked.

  25. Mark Stewart


    I’m pretty sure the recent trend of locating Urgent Care clinics so as to intercept emergency room access is directly related to the (obvious) ability to now seek reimbursement for what had previously been charity cases hospitals were forced to eat. Everyone with insurance already makes a conscious, economically rational decision as to whether they want to pay the ER copay or seek a less expensive alternative.

    It will be interesting to see how loudly hospital’s will will come to cry about these lost “charity” cases. Maybe providing free care to those who cannot pay as actually been profitable …

  26. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    The State articles had several instances of people who did not have birth certificates, say, because they were born at home and no one got around to getting them one.

  27. Rick

    Kathryn, Those without birth certificates are doomed I guess.Probably can’t ever get Social security or Medicare.

  28. Steven Davis II

    @Silence – ask bud.

    @Kathryn – “because they were born at home and no one got around to getting them one.”

    because they were so gosh darned busy. Why didn’t they go get their own? Learning early that if you don’t do for yourself you are to expect others to do things for you???

  29. Steven Davis II

    “Voting rights trump identification convenience.”

    So now getting an ID is a “convenience”.

    Hopefully the monthly check hand-outers will “conveniently” hold their checks until they get proof of identification. We don’t want those “sit on your butt” monthly checks to just go out to anyone who doesn’t deserve them.

  30. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    People back then were working hard to just keep food on the table and since everyone knew everyone, saw no need to get a birth certificate.

  31. Steven Davis II

    How do these people get social security without a form of identification? How do they pick up prescriptions? Your argument is nothing more than excuses, because there’s no reason these people can’t get some form of state identification. My grandparents who would be in their early 1-teens were small country farmers who were born at home, and they all had photo ID’s. What you’re arguing for is an excuse for laziness.

  32. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    It’s not A form of identification–it’s the one’ mandated in the law. The State newspaper detailed it all, and no one here has any better information.

  33. Steven Davis II

    So a birth certificate isn’t a form of identification… interesting.

    So how do these people function in everyday society without a legal form of identification? For the 100th time.

  34. Brad

    I have no idea, Steven. But they do. I suppose they “function” on a level that’s hard for us to imagine, having a minimal number of interactions that we take for granted.

    It seems impossible to us. Yet we know there ARE people like that out there, and they somehow get through their days.

    It’s interesting… I have a sometime correspondent who used to email me a lot, and would tell me little anecdotes about daily life out in a rural area within about an hour’s ride of Columbia. She lives on a family farm that goes back several generations. She’s a reasonably well-off white woman, and I gather that the farm is sizable. Anyway, there are poor black folks who live on that farm and have for generations. Based on the stories she told, their lives seemed not all that different from those of their grandparents or great-grandparents, living out there more or less off the land.

    It was interesting. I asked her a couple of times to let me publish her tales on the blog, but she didn’t want to…

  35. Silence

    I think the no ID/SSN/BC thing is a bit of a red herring. I don’t believe that any such voters exist. How would someone file taxes, do any banking (post patriot act), receive government benefits, operate a motor vehicle, or do basically anything else in today’s world without some form of ID?

  36. Silence

    This is nothing more than an attempt by the Dems to stir up their usual constituents and make sure that they actually come back out to vote for Obama again, even if they are no longer enthused/delusional about him as they were in ’08.

  37. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    Well, as I said before, The State profiled some of these red herrings, so even if you can’t imagine them, they exist.

  38. Silence

    @ Michael Rodgers – Thanks for the linky goodness.

    I take issue with some of the statements in the article though:
    “The precinct that votes at Benedict College in Columbia, has 2,790 voters, including nine white voters. In that precinct, 1,343 of the precinct’s nonwhite voters lack state identification, but only five white voters do.” – First of all, anybody who’s worked a local democratic campaign could explain this precinct to you. Lots of the students come from out of state and register to vote using their Benedict College address. They might not have an SC issued ID, but they do have a Benedict one, and likely one from a different state as well, wherever their permanent home is. State Rep. Todd Rutherford’s (D-Richland) Momma gets them registered, they vote in one or two elections, and then they move away or graduate and move away – so even though there are 2800 voters, making it one of the largest precincts in town, there really aren’t that many voters there. Look up the recent election turnout from that district, or go watch the polls there.
    I’d be willing to bet good money that the SC State precinct is a very similar situation. They try to go and vote with their college ID’s, since their driver’s license is from New Jersey or Georgia or NC.

    I’m still not buying that there’s thousands or even hundreds of folks out there without state issued ID’s, at least from SOME state.

  39. Michael Rodgers

    So, we agree on the following, yes? The SCGOP doesn’t want Benedict students from out of state to vote in SC, and the method the SCGOP is using to stop those students is Voter ID.

  40. Michael Rodgers


    By the way, the commnication director for the SC Senate Republican Caucus, Wesley Donehue, on twitter, stated as much on the Jim Davenport article.

    “Nice! @jimdavenport_ap proves EXACTLY why we need Voter ID in SC.

    “@jimdavenport_ap says that nearly half of Benedict College students don’t have state ids.

    “@jimdavenport_ap fails to mention that nearly 1/2 of Benedict students are from another state.

    “So @jimdavenport_ap has proved that a bunch of non-South Carolinians are voting in SC elections. Did they vote in other states too? Fraud!”

    Here’s the link.



  41. Silence

    @ Michael,
    If they are qualified SC voters and not voting elsewhere, I don’t know why anyone’d have a problem with them voting. I think the point is that there’s really not 2800 of them available to vote at a given time. If there were, that would be a goldmine for a local candidate, and it’s just not.

  42. Steven Davis II

    @Michael – Why would you want out-of-state anybody voting in SC elections? Do you go vote in Wyoming or New Hampshire if you happen to be there in early November? You vote in your “home state”, if you aren’t “home” you vote absentee. Not all that difficult to comprehend.

  43. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    Trying to find the links on The State archives….

    College students have a right to vote same as anyone else. If they become residents here, they may vote here–regardless of whether “Todd Rutherford’s Momma” registers them. Have you any idea how that sounds?

  44. Mark Stewart

    So who’s complaining about Bob Jones University et al? Even Clemson and USC have far more out of state students than Benedict or SC State…

    College students are now the enemy of civil society? They should all be encouraged to vote, not disenfranchised because they have entered an itinerate phase of life. The same probably goes for a good chunk of military personnel, who inhabit the same ephemeral plane as college kids.

    Everyone has the right to vote in one place where they have a current or historic connection.

  45. Steven Davis II

    “College students have a right to vote same as anyone else.”

    I agree, in their home state.

    “Todd Rutherford’s Momma” registers them. Have you any idea how that sounds?

    I’d say, “correct”.

  46. Steven Davis II

    @Mark – “Everyone has the right to vote in one place where they have a current or historic connection.”

    I’ve lived in five different states. Should I be able to vote in each of them?

  47. Michael Rodgers

    Mark Stewart,

    Aahhh, that’s the thing. The SCGOP runs our state, and they can make college students the enemy of our civilized society if they see fit, and they do.

    After the bill was made law, there was only one possible way to stop the SCGOP: invoke the federal government’s authority under the Voting Rights Act, which is all about disproportionate impact (or some such term) on minorities, etc.

    Of course there’s also a way to change the law in the future; any law can be changed. In fact, in the legislative debates on the Voter ID Bill, the SC House and Senate Democrats — and also the SC Senate Republicans — tried hard to get the SC House Republicans to modify their bill so that it would make more sense (encouraging college students to vote and grandfathering in the rural folk who don’t have birth certificates). Alas.



  48. Scout


    If college kids are currently living in this state then they are being affected by the policies in this state and should have a say in electing the officials who make the policies which are affecting them. They don’t get a bye on following SC laws when they are here just because they have an out of state driver’s license. Likewise they are contributing to the economy here, buying food, paying rent, etc. all of which contributes to taxes here. Nikki Haley shutting down the Arts Commission affects their ability to experience art in this state too, for example. But you think they shouldn’t have a say at the polls. Why?

  49. Steven Davis II

    @Scout – If they are “living in this state” then they shouldn’t have a problem getting a state ID. If they get a state ID, they can legally vote in this state. Problem solved.

    If I vacation in another state and follow their laws, contribute to their economy, buy food, pay rent on hotel rooms, etc. all of which contributes to that states taxes, should I be able to vote there?

    I agree with shutting down the Arts Commission, what state services does this provide to it’s citizens? If it goes away, will anyone but artists really care? The Arts Commission leader makes nearly $100,000… is that state money well spent?

    I do think they shouldn’t have a say, anymore than I shouldn’t have a say in a state that I’m not a permanent resident of.

  50. Mark Stewart


    My point was about college students and military personnel.

    Those are very distinct cases. They ought to have the right to chose to maintain a historical connection to “home” or to their current place of residence.

    By age 24, though sometimes much later, one is basically pulled into rootedness. But before, there can be a period of alienation. Simply moving from one state to another is not the same thing as what I was referrencing.

  51. Steven Davis II

    College students and military personnel can file absentee in their state of legal residency, they don’t need to vote where they’re living temporarily.

    If you have a state issued ID from any state, you are never without the ability to vote.

    What you’re saying is those who are in basic training at Fort Jackson for 9 weeks should have the right to vote for candidates in that district. Right? What abut those in college who are there for one semester?

  52. Scout

    I can’t find The State article that profiled people who have had trouble getting IDs either, though I remember reading it. However, I found other documentation of specific cases elsewhere on the web. Not all are in SC, but the others detailed I think would have the same trouble if they were in SC. They mostly all seem to boil down to problems with birth certificates. The common denominators appear to be, in most cases, not that these people have no IDs but that they can’t get a government issued ID because of the birth certificate problem. They are able to function in the world with other documents, which are not even necessarily photo IDs, but these other forms of ID that work elsewhere in the world do not count for Voter ID. Also, many poor people don’t drive and many poor people don’t use bank accounts. They live a cash existence and cash their pay checks at check cashing establishments that accept some of these alternate forms of ID that don’t work for voter ID.

    So here are the links I found:

    This woman is in SC:

    This woman is in Arizona:

    3 Individual cases are profiled at the end of this article:

    This one profiles the same SC woman from youtube above, plus one other SC case:

    This one profiles another SC case:

  53. Brad Warthen

    Scout, ask Atticus. I imagine he’s represented some of these folks. Like that fella with the entail problem…

  54. Steven Davis II

    @Scout – And I bet you believe not one of these people receive any kind of government assistance… all without a legal form of identification.

  55. Scout

    I dunno. I think Atticus would have fixed their problems by now and had a nice mess of collards to show for it, besides. 🙂

  56. Scout


    Clearly not all situations of being outside your home state are created equal. You vacationing in another state for 2 weeks can hardly be compared to a college student who spends 4 years living and working and becoming part of a community outside his home state. Nobody but you was suggesting they were even remotely similar as far as I can tell. I don’t really see it as a problem which state the college student chooses to vote in – no-one is suggesting he/she should vote in both places. If a college student comes to feel a stronger sense of connection or identity to his college town/state than his home state, he ought to be able to choose to vote there instead. I’ve not heard any good argument from you why that shouldn’t be the case. Pennslyvania’s voter ID law accepts, among other options, student IDs from public or private colleges/universities in the state. Our legislators could have created an ID law that would not have disenfranchised big groups of voters, by, for example, grandfathering in the elderly who might have issues with birth certificates and accepting a wider range of photo IDs as valid. They chose a different path.

  57. Steven Davis II

    @Scout – How about the out-of-state Freshman who moved into South Carolina in September and wants to vote in the November election? That voter would have lived in South Carolina for 8 – 10 weeks prior to the election. What about basic training soldiers AT Fort Jackson who have been here the same period of time? Don’t you think that someone, using your example of a student living here for four years, should get a South Carolina ID sometime during that period if they want to be a South Carolina voter/resident?

    If I’m an out-of-state student in Pennsylvania, I guess I can vote locally with my student ID and I can also vote absentee in my home state. Is that correct? And you don’t see a problem with that situation? You stated, “no-one is suggesting he/she should vote in both places”. “should” and “could” are two vastly different options. If you do, then tell me what the solution is. I say let them vote in their “home state” wherever they choose that to be.

    As to my my argument, I too have yet to hear a good argument from you on the matter.

  58. Michael Rodgers

    “If you have a state issued ID from any state, you are never without the ability to vote.”

    I agree that that’s exactly how it should be. Why do we need two different systems, the DMV and the Election Commission? When you get your state id, you should be automatically registered to vote at that — and only that — address. Sounds great to me.

  59. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    Here is the story. Noelle Phillips found it for me.

    No photo ID ? These doctors are on the case – IDENTITY CRISIS IN S.C.
    State, The (Columbia, SC) – Monday, July 18, 2011
    Author: 111 1654 248 1667By DAWN HINSHAW
    For the past 29 years, a Sumter couple, husband-and-wife physicians Joseph and Brenda Williams, have signed up their patients to vote.

    “You come to the office to be examined, we register you to vote and tell you why it’s important,” Brenda Williams said.

    So when the two read about a new state law requiring S.C. citizens to have a photo ID before voting, they knew they needed to get to work.

    “I said, ‘Oh my God, do we know so many people who don’t have photo IDs, thousands of people who’ve come through our practice,’” Williams said. “These are decent, honest people.”

    Now, the two find themselves in the midst of a new voting-rights movement – one that seeks to ensure that the elderly are not turned away from the polls in November.

    According to the S.C. Election Commission, 178,175 registered voters do not have photo IDs. Before now, poll-

    workers did not – in fact, could not, in recent decades – require one.

    Joseph and Brenda Williams, born in Georgia in the 1950s, take the right and responsibility to vote seriously. They came up during a time in America when people of color were often blocked from voting.

    So when they opened their Excelsior Medical Clinic in Sumter, they made conversations about voting a part of the medical exam. Brenda Williams estimates the couple has registered “well over 1,000” people to vote.

    Joseph Williams has a practice focused on geriatrics. His wife has a general practice.

    Between them, they began a nonprofit organization to renovate run-down housing, provide cell phones to senior citizens – and, now, help those without birth certificates get a photo ID . To sort through the birth certificate issue, they have enlisted the help of a retired family court judge, Ruben Gray, who has taken on 10 cases.

    At first, Brenda Williams mistakenly thought they could just pre-pay for a passel of state-issued IDs.

    She thought money would be the deterrent.

    She put $200 into a checking account and headed down to her local S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles office to work out a system for sending patients by. “I thought all people needed was $5, go down to the DMV, and they’ll take your photo. I was in for the education of my life.”

    Turned out, birth certificates were the problem.

    For those who don’t have a birth certificate, getting a state-issued ID is no easy task, although a spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles said there are a variety of records the agency accepts as proof of identification. (Also, the IDs are free for anyone 17 and older.)

    Still, since the Legislature passed the new voter law this year, there has not been a surge in requests for state-issued ID cards. Spokeswoman Jean Smolen said 15,163 cards were issued over a five-week period ending June 30 of this year, compared with 15,026 during the same period in 2010.

    The problem is this: Before the 1970s, many women in rural South Carolina didn’t go to hospitals at childbirth. They used midwives. Often, though, midwives did not file birth certificates. Or their information might be wrong, or incomplete.

    Going back to correct a name or collect the documents needed to get a delayed birth certificate is time-consuming and expensive.

    Joseph and Brenda Williams have plenty of stories about people’s birth records: The midwife who tried to sound out the name “Naomi,” spelling it “Llnoie”; the child named “Baby Girl Kennedy” because her folks couldn’t come up with a first name right away.

    Other patients don’t have birth certificates at all, simply using the year of their birth, said Joseph Williams, himself delivered by a midwife.

    “It’s a very common thing,” he said, noting that such problems and practices were common throughout the South and involved black and white families alike.

    Sure enough, 64 percent of S.C. voters without an ID are white, according to the S.C. Election Commission. About 53 percent are age 45 or older.

    Nowadays, midwives are required to submit birth certificates within five days of a birth, said Tavish Brinton of Batesburg-Leesville, a long-time certified professional midwife.

    “There was a shift in the training of midwives, and they required every midwife to be able to read and write,” she said. “Before that time, births would be recorded in a family Bible • but not every family had such a thing.”

    Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.

  60. Mark Stewart


    One could spin it around the other way. When should one stop using one’s parent’s address as “home?”

    If a college student or a soldier feels that they are a member of the community where they then reside, what is the harm in voting in that locale?

    Until I was 36 I voted in the state where I held a drivers license. I had not been a resident of the state since I was 18. Is it “fair” to those who live, work and reside in that state that I continued to vote in all those elections? I thought so; I kept up with the political discussions their and knew the people and the issues. But the flip side of that argument is apparent.

    Should I have voted in the state where I was legally domiciled for tax purposes? Or the other state where I owned the residential property that I actually considered my home?

    Where I held a drivers license seems to me to be the least correct answer.

    Not everyone has one house, one job and one past/future. More people than you might imagine have more legally complicated living and working situations than that.

    Look at the large number of people on HHI, Kiawah, Sullivans/IOP (or half the owners of the large plantations spread across the state) who go to great lengths to “domicile” themselves in this state (including voting) – regardless of what the “truth” may be.

    Sorry, it’s just so typically South Carolinian to take the poorest, least opportune of our citizens and make them into the biggest, badest bogeymen impeding justice and fairness.

  61. Michael Rodgers

    Here’s a great blogger, the banhammering leader of the horde, Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing about the issue over at The Atlantic, where he is a senior editor.

    “I’d have much less of a problem with voter ID laws, if I knew the state’s were going to make sure getting the proper ID was no problem.”

    Then he refers to Mississippi’s Catch-22 problem. Mississipians can’t get state id’s without birth certificates and can’t get birth certificates without state id’s.

  62. Steven Davis II

    Mark – I stopped using my parents address when I moved away from home after graduating from college. My brother stopped using it when joined the Navy out of high school.

    You vote where you are a legal resident. Did you keep your out of state license plates during that same 18 year period? I see it all the time because people don’t want to pay SC taxes. They’ll use our roads but refuse to pay their share to maintain them.

    It’s not as complicated as you want it to be, a person has one “permanent” address. I don’t care how many “temporary” addresses one has.

    Save me the sob story. If you’ve lived in SC your whole life, you’ve had opportunities to get a South Carolina ID. You can get SC ID cards for free. How many of those you are talking about do not draw social security checks?

  63. Michael Rodgers

    Silence asks if South Carolinians without birth certificates exist.
    That’s a good question, and Kathryn has answered it again and again — they do exist.

    SD2 asks if such people exist, how do they function in society, especially with the federal program of social security.
    That’s a good question and no one has answered it. The answer, if there is one, ought to help us figure out a reasonable way to get such people a state id.

    The SC Senate (Republicans and Democrats) worked to try to find a reasonable way to answer all the reasonable questions, but the SC House Republicans didn’t care and rammed through their bill anyway. It was a SCGOP priority and the SC House Republicans didn’t care if it was done right, just that it was done.

    The concept stated eloquently by SD2 is perfect. The bill that was passed by the SC legislature and signed into law by Gov. Haley is not.

    The law requires both the DMV and the Election Commission to provide state id’s. This is duplicative and expensive. Why should two state agencies do the same thing?

    We’ve already had a hullaballoo all about how the records of the DMV and the Election Commission don’t exactly match.

  64. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    I know that it took my college-educated father a lot of trouble to get his mother, who had like an 8th grade education, her Social Security, and this was in Buffalo, NY, which had a thriving public transportation system in the late 1950s, and my grandmother had even been born and lived her whole life within a few blocks in Buffalo. Now let’s go to the countryside, with no transportation, poorly educated or absent children….

  65. Mark Stewart


    I like the way you continue to only fret about one side of the equation.

    I would suggest that more people register to vote here as part of the process to escape higher tax rates in other states than are disenfranchised by a lack of a state issued ID. So I remain bemused at the lengths people go to to trash the rural, ederly poor over this.

    And this will kill you: for the last 15 years or so of that period I didn’t own a vehicle. I did need a license, but I didn’t need a vehicle. Or at least I didn’t need one in any one state.

  66. Steven Davis II

    Mark – That’s the point of arguing, I argue my point and you argue your point.

    Who’s trashing the rural, elderly poor? I bet they could stop off at the local DMV to pick up their free state issued ID on their way to the voting booth.

    Not going to kill me, if you don’t need a vehicle, you don’t need a vehicle. I really could care less.

  67. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – okay so it may have been tough 60 years ago. How many people had photo ID’s in 1950? How many people are we actually talking about today? My dad was born in 1930 at home and didn’t have any trouble getting a photo ID.

  68. Michael Rodgers

    60 years ago is when these people were born, and now suddenly the SCGOP is telling them that they need a birth certificate to vote. Gov. Nikki Haley is offering them a ride to the DMV in her governor’s limo, but what they need is a ride in Dr. Emmett Brown’s DeLorean.

  69. Steven Davis II

    @Michael – How many 60 year old people don’t have social security numbers or birth certificates? It’s not like people in 1952 were born in a log cabin.

  70. Pat

    @Kathryn. The article you cited is the one that convinced me I was wrong about the whole thing. Re: midwives – there was a time when it was illegal in SC to practice midwifery. A neighbor who was against IVs and drugs for labor had her babies with a midwife but she had to get their birth certificates herself and it was no easy task.

  71. Brad

    Well, that was confusing… Kathryn said to Michael, “No, it isn’t,” and Michael said, “Yes, it is.” Only he said it to Steven.

    I don’t know exactly who’s saying what to whom…

  72. Michael Rodgers

    The two major obstacles to Voter ID are the Constitution (especially the 24th Amendment) and the Voting Rights Act. These obstacles can be gotten around if people think about them, discuss their relevance, and address them.

    In our SC Senate, Democrats and Republicans worked together to do just that, and they made significant progress. They were actually very close to crafting a wise and just law that would indeed fit South Carolina’s needs and get around the obstacles.

    Unfortunately, the SC House Republicans refused to go along with the SC Senate’s provisions. The law that our legislature passed does not do enough to get around these obstacles. Those who think that it does are wrong. That’s not just my opinion.

    When SC’s Voter ID law passed the legislature, then Sen. Glenn McConnell said, “For those of you who didn’t want this Bill, some of the things the House refused to take may have well-played into your hands.” He also said, “I thought the Senate Bill had the best chance of getting approval [by the US Justice Department and the US Supreme Court]. I think to lose the provisions contained in the Senate Bill, they [the SC House Republicans] went in the wrong direction.”

  73. bud

    Eric Holder has ruled the Texas ID law a poll tax. That’s why the GOP is going after him so stridently in the F & F fiasco.

  74. Steven Davis II

    Hey, if they want me in the argument I’ll argue too. I just don’t know which side to take because I am usually on the opposite side with both.

  75. Michael Rodgers


    You made a comment, time-stamped at 6:40pm, addressed to me. In that comment you had two sentences.

    Your first sentence was a question. I stated previously that questions like your question are good questions; they are good because they might inform those who would want to change our Voter ID law so that the process for getting a state id could keep its rigor while not being improperly exclusive.

    Your second sentence began with “It’s not.” My reply “Yes, it is” is a response to that sentence that you wrote.

    I apologize for the confusion that I caused you, Brad, and perhaps others. Hopefully Kathryn laughed.

    That is all.

  76. Scout

    Silence says:
    July 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    So how do the ID/Birth Certificate lacking elderly get SSI?

    I would like to know this too. If anybody explored the links I gave earlier, as well as, Kathryn’s I think there are clues, though I don’t know the definitive answer. My best guess drawn from the anecdotal evidence is that the social security administration and various other agencies may not be or may not previously have been (pre 911) as strict in their birth certificate requirements as SC DMV appears to be being. Several of the people in these anecdotes were able to get driver licenses from other states – thus giving them a photo ID to function in society, but not good enough to vote in SC. Does this mean other DMVs don’t require birth certificates or accept birth certificates that are lacking in specifics or have misspellings – possibly, I don’t know. One of the anecdotes was a lady who had social security card and medicaid card – even though the birth certificate she has isn’t good enough for SC – so I can only assume that SC is being more stringent in what they will accept.

  77. Steven Davis II

    @Michael – So what you’re saying is that people born in 1952 were born in log cabins.

    Must be that New Yorker cartoon humor I’m not getting.

    “That is all.”
    Thanks Radar.

  78. Michael Rodgers


    Kathryn provided the reporting from Dawn Hinshaw at The State: “Before the 1970s, many women in rural South Carolina didn’t go to hospitals at childbirth.”

    You said, “It’s not like people in 1952 were born in a log cabin.”

    I said, “Yes, it is.” It is LIKE some people (not everyone but SOME) prior to 1970 were born in a log cabin, where log cabin is, as you meant, a euphemism for a rural home.

    Finally, please don’t call me Radar. I don’t call you Nevets.

  79. Steven Davis II

    @Michael – Possibly, but I wonder how many of those didn’t get signed up for social security numbers or birth certificates?

    Just because someone was born at home doesn’t mean they were born circa 1846 and only known to the government when the census man came around. Like I said my dad was born in a rural farming community at home in 1930 and he had a birth certificate as did his brother and sister.

    I called you Radar because you quoted Radar with that last line… maybe you’ve never watched MASH. Who is Nevets?

  80. Brad

    It’s “Steven” spelled backward.

    I guess he’s making a play on “Radar,” which is the same backward or forward.

    Reminds me of a letter-writer who thought he was really clever duping us into publishing his letters, which he signed “Dennis Sinned.”

    A couple of his letters actually ran (he had come up with a way to beat our routine system for checking for fakes) before I really noticed, and said, “Wait a minute…”

    I don’t remember right now whether we ever figured out who he was…

  81. Scout

    Did you read the article? It’s not just whether they have birth certificates but whether the birth certificate is complete and correct with no misspellings and matches the name they have built their life using. Good for your father that he was born at home in the 50s but didn’t have that problem. That doesn’t mean it is not a legitimate problem for others of a certain age in this state, especially if they or the midwife that filed the paperwork was not terribly literate.

  82. Michael Rodgers

    I also “wonder how many of those didn’t get signed up for social security numbers or birth certificates.” If only some journalist named Hinshaw would do some reporting, but I guess it’s just not meant for us to know….

  83. Kathryn Fenner

    @Brad–watch the link Michael so considerately provided. I know it by heart. It’s used a lot to illustrate the concept of agreement in improv scenes. Even though they appear to disagree, the actors are actually agreeing that this is a world where you go into a room to have an argument.

  84. Kathryn Fenner

    and speaking of letter writers–what about the guy who wrote in today’s paper about apps? I really am too busy to craft the sort of response that cries out for….

  85. Steven Davis II

    @Scout – What kind of parent are you if you don’t proofread your baby’s birth certificate? It’s a legal document that can be corrected.

    My dad was born in 1930, 20 years before you’re even discussing.

  86. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    What kind of parent are you? Maybe one who can’t read well or at all, or maybe one who is already overburdened and didn’t even think to check.

    The world is a lot different for some people.

  87. Silence

    @ Radar, Hot Lips & Col Blake – Seriously, I’m having trouble believing that there’s folks out there who really couldn’t get an ID if they wanted one. I don’t think that anybody could be that “off the grid” if they tried. Literally they’d have to have:
    Never had a legitimate job
    Never been enrolled in school
    Never been claimed as a dependent
    Never filed a tax return
    Not transacted any financial business since 2001
    Never applied for social security, medicare, foodstamps, housing assistance or medicaid benefits
    Never had a driver’s license
    Never been incarcerated – or arrested
    and many other things.
    I just don’t buy it, liberal media and advocacy group attestations not withstanding.

  88. Steven Davis II

    Oh boy the choir is in an uproar over a spelling error. Too bad I didn’t throw a grammatical error in there for fun.

  89. Steven Davis II

    I’m done with this overrun topic. As it sits, the law states that if you don’t have a valid SC ID you don’t get to vote. Fine by me. I’ll be back to argue further if the law gets overturned.

  90. Scout

    Silence says,

    “I don’t think that anybody could be that “off the grid” if they tried. Literally they’d have to have:
    Never had a legitimate job
    Never been enrolled in school
    Never been claimed as a dependent
    Never filed a tax return
    Not transacted any financial business since 2001
    Never applied for social security, medicare, foodstamps, housing assistance or medicaid benefits
    Never had a driver’s license
    Never been incarcerated – or arrested
    and many other things.
    I just don’t buy it, liberal media and advocacy group attestations not withstanding”

    If you were just going to ignore the specific examples of people this has happened to that you asked for, you shouldn’t have asked.

    There are holes in your theory above. You need a valid accurate birth certificate to get a current SC photo ID to vote. You do not necessarily need a valid accurate birth certificate to do most of the other things in your list, depending on your age. You seem to be assuming that you need a valid accurate birth certificate to get a SSN. That is true today – it was not true in the early days of SSN issuance, when many of the people we are talking about got their numbers. ( Once they have a number, they could file tax returns and apply for the various other things you mention. You didn’t need to list the SSN of a dependent child on your tax return until 1986 – the people we are talking about are older than that. What do you consider a legitimate job? I bet you could be a manual farm laborer and get paid in cash without ever having to show anybody your birth certificate. Grade school kids today have to have a birth certificate to be enrolled – that was not the case for the people we are talking about, if they were given the opportunity to go to school at all.

    This problem revolves around several key points as I see it:
    *the culture of poverty has different norms that are hard for middle class people and higher to wrap their head around – not unusual to live a cash existence with no bank accounts, for example
    *Elderly poor people who do not drive and have lived in the same community all their life can function with little need for photo ID – everybody in their community knows them.
    *Elderly poor people who have lived in the same community all their life probably have never had much need or reason to pay attention to their birth certificate before now – it is a recent thing that verifying identity has become so important – most of these people established all the adult credentials they needed to function in their community at the time before verifying identity was a significant problem like it is today in the era of terrorists and identity theft.


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