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Civil rights groups sue South Carolina over mail-in ballot access
Rules restrict absentee voting during pandemic
 
Published Sunday, May 3, 2020 7:08 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

STOCK PHOTO
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and American Civil Liberties Union are suing South Carolina to open voter access during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state holds its primary election on June 9.

South Carolina is the latest flashpoint in the battle over vote-by-mail during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of South Carolina filed a lawsuit on April 22 alleging the state failed to take action to give eligible voters who self-isolate a mail-in option ahead of the June 9 primary. The groups are challenging a state requirement that requires a third-party witness signature on an individual’s absentee ballot envelope as well as an “excuse” requirement that has a disproportionate impact on voters of color and the poor during the pandemic.

President Donald Trump has criticized mail-in voting as rife for abuse and fraud, while proponents maintains it expands access to the ballot.

“No one should be forced to choose between their life and their vote,” said Adriel Cepeda Derieux, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “It is a false choice. South Carolina can simultaneously keep the public safe and protect democracy but is refusing to do so. Removing these requirements in the middle of a pandemic is a common-sense solution that protects people’s health and their right to vote.”

In an email to supporters and potential donors, LDF President and General Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill drew parallels to the April primary in Wisconsin, in which a court overruled the governor to allow in-person voting only despite a rush of mail-in applications to skip waiting in line to cast ballots.

“Right now, South Carolina does not offer absentee voting for those who are self-isolating or sheltering-in-place due to COVID-19,” Ifill wrote. “What’s more, all absentee ballots require a witness signature, forcing many to break social distancing procedures to vote – literally forcing people to choose between their life and their vote.”

Civil rights activists are working with community and government leaders to push expansion of voter registration, vote by mail in November and make in-person balloting safe. Among them are:


• No-excuse absentee voting-by-mail.

• Extended early in-person voting periods.

• Online registration and same-day voter registration.

• Voter education to inform the public of new practices and rebuff disinformation.

“The president is already trying to dismiss the idea of voting by mail as ‘partisan,’” Ifill wrote. “We know that states will need to implement large-scale changes in a short timeframe. We also know that it will take a groundswell of grassroots support to push Congress to fully fund these efforts – but if we act NOW and if we act with urgency, we can get this done.”

Comments

People of every race and economic class are out in masses at the stores. I've even seen lots of elderly out. How is it any more dangerous for them to vote in person with ID!
Posted on May 4, 2020
 
We for sure need a change I have noticed Democrats run United States every state has a Democrat running everything. It's been like that for years. single mother has to work a minimum wage job sometimes 2 just to pay the rent and electricity car insurance and barely any money left over for food and don't qualify for food stamps cuz they say that you make too much money and they won't ever help you out for rent because they said you can't make more than $600 so they said if you quit your job will help you pay your bills makes no sense to help somebody that's not helping themselves something is wrong with the system that Democrats have been running the system for years maybe give a republican a chance something's got to change and get better.... Make a change I want my vote to 2 count not to be stolen.....
Posted on May 4, 2020
 

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