State elections

Richland, Darlington lead SC in photo IDs issued for elections

abeam@thestate.comJanuary 30, 2014 

MAP BY CHRIS WINSTON

  • Photo IDs

    Since December 2012, the state Election Commission has issued more than 13,000 photo IDs as part of a state law requiring voters to show a photo ID. Here are the top five counties in issuing those IDs:

    Richland County

    IDs issued: 2,269

    Registered voters: 243,633

    2012 election result: Obama

    Darlington County

    IDs issued: 1,912

    Registered voters: 42,125

    2012 election result: Obama

    Florence County

    IDs issued: 1,480

    Registered voters: 83,334

    2012 election result: Romney

    Charleston County

    IDs issued: 1,061

    Registered voters: 250,603

    2012 election result: Obama

    Marion County

    IDs issued: 673

    Registered voters: 21,685

    2012 election result: Obama

    SOURCE: State Election Commission, 2012 election results

— As director of the Darlington County Election Commission, Hoyt Campbell spends lots of time at church festivals, community meetings and the annual Sweet Potato Festival.

But Campbell is not registering voters. He is helping get photo IDs for registered voters.

Since 2012, Darlington County has given out more than 1,900 photo IDs to voters, accounting for almost 5 percent of that county’s registered voters. Richland County, which has more than five times the number of registered voters than Darlington, was the only county where more photo IDs were issued, giving out 2,269.

Altogether, the State Election Commission says more than 13,000 photo IDs have been given out since December 2012, when the state’s controversial photo ID law went into effect. That is less than 1 percent of the state’s 2.9 million registered voters.

South Carolina will have its first statewide election under the new law in November, when voters will choose a governor, two U.S. senators, seven congressmen and 124 state House members.

Opponents of the photo ID law said they feared it would be used to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

And, of the Top 5 counties that have given out the most photo IDs, four voted for Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012, before the voter ID law went into effect. Those counties have significant minority populations and sizeable numbers of nonwhite registered voters.

“There is good and bad in those numbers. What it tells me, first and foremost, is that communities of color are committed to overcoming obstacles and barriers placed in their way of voting,” said state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, a member of the House budget subcommittee that oversees the Election Commission’s budget. “What it also suggests is that we’ve got more work to do.”

Darlington County has had several “photo shoots” to reach out to voters who need IDs, Campbell said. The county has worked closely with churches, particularly in the African-American community.

“We hit the streets... the churches and the barbershops and pretty much any place that people gather,” said Teresa Mack, a Hartsville city councilwoman who worked to get photo IDs to registered voters. “We try to make sure they are educated and know that that is available for them.”

Howard Jackson, director of the Richland County Election Commission, said his agency has made similar outreach efforts and is planning even more leading up to November.

“Everyone who is legally able to vote, we want them to vote in an election without anything standing in their way,” he said.

Interactive map showing how many IDs have been requested in each SC county

Photo IDs

Since December 2012, the state Election Commission has issued more than 13,000 photo IDs as part of a state law requiring voters to show a photo ID. Here are the top five counties in issuing those IDs:

Richland County

IDs issued: 2,269

Registered voters: 243,633

2012 election result: Obama

Darlington County

IDs issued: 1,912

Registered voters: 42,125

2012 election result: Obama

Florence County

IDs issued: 1,480

Registered voters: 83,334

2012 election result: Romney

Charleston County

IDs issued: 1,061

Registered voters: 250,603

2012 election result: Obama

Marion County

IDs issued: 673

Registered voters: 21,685

2012 election result: Obama

SOURCE: State Election Commission, 2012 election results

Reach Beam at (803) 386-7038.

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