South Carolina legislators failed on Wednesday to agree on a bill requiring South Carolina voters to show photo ID and allowing early voting, but a key GOP House member offered what one senator called a "glimmer of light."
House GOP leaders want to mandate voter ID with no early voting, but senators made it clear they wouldn't get one without the other.
"Let's not fool ourselves. I won't support anything without early voting," said Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Hartsville, who was instrumental in negotiating the Senate version. "The only thing I'm interested in in this whole bill is early voting."
Democrats have argued that requiring voters to show a picture ID at the polls would suppress the vote of minority, disabled and poor residents who don't have such ID. But Republicans countered that in a post-Sept. 11 world, everyone should be accustomed to flashing ID, and it's an issue of voter integrity.
The Senate compromise passed in February combined voter ID and early voting. It allowed a two-week window when voters could cast a ballot early without needing an excuse. And it continued to allow residents to vote in person up to a month early by giving an excuse for why they can't vote on Election Day.