‘Small but critical step’: Rep. Fry explains why he proposed bill to require photo ID for absentee voting in South Carolina

State - Regional

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Representative Russell Fry spoke with News13 about a new bill he’s introducing that would require photo ID for absentee voting in South Carolina.

Fry said the bill is based in part on how Georgia drafted a portion of their new law, which requires photo ID for absentee voting. He said South Carolina laws are already robust and have not had issues, but this allows another way to protect elections.

“I think it’s a small but critical step in preserving the right to vote but also protecting the integrity of the elections and making sure you are lawfully casting that ballot,” Fry said.

Currently, South Carolina requires photo ID to vote in person, so Fry said he would like that to be expanded to absentee voting as well.

“You would attach a copy of that to your ballot and send it in,” Fry said. “Once it’s in the system you can continue to use your number itself. I think the ballot itself would have a marker for your number of an area for your ID number so I think that’s an important step.”

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Trav Robertson said he’s against the new bill.

“The truth is this is an attempt to keep lower-income individuals from casting a ballot because those are the group of individuals and the elderly who are going to be disproportionately impacted by this bill,” Robertson said.

When asked if there’s any examples of election insecurities where this would help, Fry said if the election offices had any issues, it could be verified that the person is who they say they are.

“I think there’s been a counter narrative on voter IDs in general, that is suppresses the vote and what I would say to that — I don’t think that the facts or the numbers back that up and in fact states that have gone to a voter ID you’ve seen numbers soar.”

Fry said the bill currently has 65 co-sponsors in the South Carolina General Assembly. It has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where he said it will likely go to the election law subcommittee.

He’s hopeful that they can take it up this year and send it to the senate for their consideration.

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