The roiling legal battles over election laws passed in various states have potentially far-reaching consequences: the fate of a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The landmark legislation requires the Justice Department to "pre-clear" any changes to election laws in some or all parts of 16 states, mostly in the South, because of their histories of racially discriminatory voting practices. The Justice Department recently used the mandate to block a voter identification law in South Carolina on grounds that it would harm minority voter turnout.
The South Carolina State Election Commission has just released its initial review of allegations from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles that more than 950 deceased voters appeared to have ballots cast in their names after they died. And no surprise, the commission found that of the 207 cases reviewed, there was no evidence in 197 of them that fraudulent votes had been cast. The commission said that records in the other 10 cases were "insufficient to make a determination."
In the escalating fight over voter identification laws, South Carolina has filed a federal lawsuit to overturn a Justice Department decision blocking the state's new photo ID requirement.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, representing his state in the case, said in the complaint filed Tuesday that the law "will not disenfranchise any potential South Carolina voter," as the Justice Department contends.