UNION — The new 2013 Photo ID Law will be the subject of two public information sessions conducted by the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office.
In a statement released Friday, Union County Elections Director Darlene Pettit announced that the sessions will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, January 28 and at 4 p.m. Monday, February 25.
“These sessions will be an opportunity for us to dispense information to the community and will give citizens the opportunity to ask questions they may have,” Pettit said. “The sessions will be held in our training room on the second floor of the Voter Registration Building at 320 East Main Street and are expected to last one to one-and-a-half hours.
“All interested parties are invited and encouraged to attend,” she said. “Please feel free to contact our office with any questions you may have about these sessions.”
In October, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a state law requiring South Carolina voters to present a government-issued identification photo in order to vote. The requirement took effect January 1 and the next time they go to the polls, South Carolina voters will have to present one of the following five photo IDs:
• S.C. Driver’s License
• DMV-issued ID card
• Federal Military ID
• U.S. Passport
• A Voter Registration Card with photo
Since November, Union County residents can get their voter registration card and accompanying photo at the Voter Registrar’s Office which has a camera set up to take their picture. Both the paper card that the Voter Registrar’s Office can issue and the more permanent version issued by the state are free.
Pettit said Friday that five people have been issued a voter registration card with photo by her office since November.
A voter does not have to have a voter registration card with their photo on it as long as they have one of the other accepted photo IDs. It is, however, an option for those that do not have the other forms of photographic identification.
While voters will be required to present a photo ID, the law does allow for some exceptions due to what it describes as a “reasonable impediment.” A reasonable impediment is described by S.C. Election Commission as “any valid reason beyond your control, which created an obstacle to obtaining Photo ID.” The following are examples of reasonable impediments:
• Religious objection to being photographed
• Disability or illness
• Work schedule
• Lack of transportation
• Lack of birth certificate
• Family responsibilities
• Election within short time frame of implementation of Photo ID law
• Any other obstacle you find reasonable
A person who goes to the polls to vote but does not have a photo ID because of one of the impediments allowed for by the law can sign an affidavit that they could not get a photo ID and will be issued a provisional ballot which will be counted when the Union County Election Commission certifies the election results.
For more information contact Darlene Pettit at 864-429-1616 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.