A controversial South Carolina voter-ID law that many say will make it harder for minorities to vote has been blocked by the Justice Department.
The Obama administration said that the law didn't meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discriminatory practices at the polls. The now-canned law required all voters to show photo ID to vote.
It was the first voter-ID law rejected by the federal government in nearly 20 years. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson vowed to fight the decision in court. "Nothing in this act stops people from voting," Wilson, who is also a Republican, told the Associated Press.
South Carolina was one of five states passing laws requiring some sort of photo ID at the booths in order to vote. Most of the laws have been pushed forward by Republicans who believe it will help counter voter fraud.
Minority voters in South Carolina are less likely to have a state-issued ID than white voters, so the new ID requirements would effectively make them disenfranchised.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has been a loud critic of Republicans' push to pass voter-ID laws, applauded the decision. "We're fighting wars for democracy overseas and we're fighting democracy at home," Jackson told the Associated Press. "What a contradiction."
In a statement, the Justice Department said:
The U.S. Department of Justice today blocked implementation of a new law that would require South Carolina voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. Therefore, ID requirements for voting will not change at this time.
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