THE ISSUE: Rides to the DMV
OUR VIEW: Some will take advantage of governor's offer, but it's largely a political show
Don't say we didn't tell you so. Back when Gov. Nikki Haley said she herself would give people rides to the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a photo identification card in order to vote, we predicted she actually would do so, but primarily as a media event. Then along came a caller to the Governor's Mansion who requested a ride only to be told by Haley's people that they didn't know what he was talking about, that they didn't know the governor had made such an offer.
Now, in the face of protests over the voter ID law as a tool to disenfranchise voters, South Carolina is being told by the federal government it must provide additional and detailed information on how the state will implement the new requirement of photo IDs and the effects it will have on the state's voting population.
As hard as it may be for the staunchest of voter-ID advocates to believe, up to 178,000 South Carolina voters don't have state-issued photo identification. Many will have difficulty getting ID cards based on factors such as lack of a birth certificate.
Well, Gov. Haley and the DMV have decided that one South Carolina response to the Justice Department on implementation will be, in fact, providing those aforementioned rides to obtain an ID card.
"If you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed, if you have to show a picture ID to get on an airplane, you should show a picture ID when you vote," Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday.
So, on Sept. 28, DMV will host a "State Identification Card Day" for citizens who are 18 years of age or older and do not have a valid state driver's license or identification card. DMV will provide free transportation to and from a DMV office so that eligible citizens may apply for a state identification card. To participate, citizens may call 1-855-STATE ID (1-855-782-8343) toll-free to request transportation. DMV will accept requests through Sept. 22.
Here are more details:
* During the initial telephone call, DMV representatives will ask citizens for their name, address, contact information and preferred DMV office. Citizens will not receive an appointment at that time. The DMV representative will explain the requirements to obtain an identification card and attempt to determine if the citizen has the required documents. DMV will call the citizen by Sept. 26 to confirm the request for transportation. After confirming the citizen's information, DMV will provide an appointment for transportation. Appointments will be scheduled for a two-hour window of time (i.e. 8-10 a.m.) when the DMV driver license examiner will arrive to pick up the citizen.
* To obtain an identification card, citizens must have a birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of residency. If they have had a name change since birth, they must also have legal documentation (i.e. marriage license, divorce decree or adoption records) to support the name change. DMV encourages those that want to participate to call ahead of time to ensure they have all the appropriate documents.
"The most important thing citizens need to remember is that we cannot issue any type of credential without the proper documents to back it up. That's the hurdle most people face when trying to get an identification card," said DMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. "For many people, the real problem is getting a birth certificate."
* To apply for a birth certificate, citizens born in South Carolina should start by contacting the Division of Vital Records at the Department of Health and Environmental Control. Citizens not born in South Carolina should contact their birth state for assistance.
* On the day of the event, DMV driver license examiners will transport most of the citizens to and from a DMV office. Because the agency's examiner force will be transporting citizens, DMV will not offer road tests in any offices on that day and could potentially curtail other activities based on service demands. All DMV license examiners will wear gray uniform shirts with the DMV emblem on the left side and carry a DMV identification badge so that they may be easily recognized. They will check all of the citizen's identification documents before transporting them to the DMV office. If the citizen does not have the proper paperwork, he or she cannot obtain an identification card that day.
* Participating citizens must be physically able to walk either on their own power, with a walker or with a cane. DMV employees are not prepared to deal with special needs. To ensure maximum driving time and maintain schedules, DMV will not transport additional family members or unscheduled persons.
Don't expect a huge response from Democrats in support of Haley's rides to the DMV, which by any analysis are largely a political show. They are leading the fight against the ID bill, still with a belief that the U.S. Justice Department may reject the requirement under provisions of the Voting Rights Act. If that battle is lost, look for the party to organize its own rides to obtain IDs.