Letters to the Editor

Photo ID not always so easy to come by

On the face of it, requiring a photo ID in order to vote seems quite reasonable. Allow me to offer another perspective. My job is to assist citizens in getting the services, documentation and education they need in order to secure employment. This requires how-to knowledge, money, transportation and/or access to technology, along with computer literacy. Some people simply do not have all of this.

One of my recent cases was a woman with an official photo ID from another state and a birth certificate. With those items and proof of S.C. residency, we went to the DMV. The DMV judged the birth certificate too tattered to accept. We then went to the library, printed out an application for a birth certificate from another state, and waited for her to save enough money to place the order. Two months later the birth certificate arrived. We went back to the DMV.

They would not issue an ID because the name on the birth certificate did not match the married name on her ID. Back to the library to print out an application for her marriage certificate. Wait for her to save money. A six week wait for the certificate to come. Back to the DMV and victory. Had someone not been there to help, transport, and encourage her, she would not be a registered voter today.

That case wasn't even difficult compared to those who do not have a photo ID from a source recognized by the government or a copy of their birth certificate. The Catch 22 is that you need an official photo ID to get a birth certificate, and you need a birth certificate to get an official photo ID. The last case took six months to resolve and too many legal procedures to recount in a letter to the editor.

When the voter ID law passed, I was very excited to read that the state would assist those without an ID. I was dismayed to read further that the assistance was in the form of transportation to the DMV. Transportation is helpful only if the prospective voter already has all documentation needed. The photo ID law, as written now, will prevent many people from having the right to vote.

The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.