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Federal Judges Uphold South Carolina Voter ID Law

A panel of federal judges in Washington, D.C., has upheld South Carolina's controversial voter ID law, but says the state can't implement it until 2013. In a unanimous decision, the panel said there wasn't enough time to implement the law ahead of the Nov. 6 elections. The judges also said the law doesn't discriminate against racial minorities.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And we have news about one more court decision today. A federal court here in Washington, D.C., has ruled that South Carolina's new voter ID law can go into effect, but not until next year.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The law requires voters to show government-issued photo ID at the polls. Today, the three-judge panel found that it will not discriminate against minority voters who are less likely to have ID. That is because of one provision in the law. It allows voters without ID to cast a provisional ballot, if they face what's deemed reasonable impediment to getting ID.

SIEGEL: The court says that provision should address concerns that voters will be disenfranchised. It was those concerns that led the Justice Department to block the law from going into effect last year. Today, state officials in South Carolina called the decision a major victory.

CORNISH: But civil rights groups also declared a victory, noting that voters won't have to show a photo ID this year. The court says there's too little time to put the law into effect before November, without causing confusion at the polls.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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