The estimated 178,000 South Carolina voters who don't have state-issued photo identification will be able to cast ballots in upcoming local elections despite a new ID law, according to an attorney general's opinion released Tuesday.
Since the U.S. Justice Department has not approved the law yet, the opinion agreed with state Election Commission Executive Director Marci Andino that there isn't enough time to educate voters about the new law before the next round of municipal elections around the state set for late August and early September.
"Such short time period is beyond the voter's control," deputy attorney general Robert Cook wrote in his opinion.
The law, passed in May and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley, requires a driver's license or one of several other forms of photo ID to vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are asking federal officials to reject the new law because they say it will disenfranchise the state's black and poor voters, who make up most of the registered voters without a photo ID.