This week, South Carolina had its first election with the controversial new voter ID law that requires all voters to show valid photo identification at the ballot polls. In October of last year, a federal court ruled that the law could not take effect in time for the 2012 presidential election, but the panel of judges ruled that the law could go into effect in 2013 after deciding that it was not discriminatory against racial minorities.
The state held a special 1st Congressional District primary election on Tuesday and the South Carolina Election Commission spokesperson said it was unlikely that the law would have much effect on voter turnout. On Tuesday afternoon, the spokesperson said he had not been made aware of any issues having to do with voter ID. He said only about 30,000 voters are expected to cast ballots in the primary.
Although much of the nation has all but forgotten about elections since November passed, South Carolina residents have been the target of many political campaigns ads, including ads from both sides of the immigration reform debate. As we discussed last week, South Carolina has become a battleground state for immigration reform because of its demographics, culture and political makeup.
For that reason, the turnout of the special election to replace Rep. Tim Scott's seat in the House of Representatives could help sway the direction of the state and its position on immigration reform. Because none of the candidates are expected to win the primary outright by earning 50 percent of the votes, it's likely that another election between the top two finishers will take place on April 2.
Source: MSNBC, "Voter ID law takes effect in South Carolina special election," Cara Marseca, March 19, 2013