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South Carolina voter ID law goes before panel of judges

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The US Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter ID law in 2008, and Georgia's top court upheld that state's voter ID law. But three-judge federal panel struck down Texas' voter ID law, and state courts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have blocked those states' voter ID laws for now. The Justice Department cleared New Hampshire's voter ID law earlier this year.

South Carolina's law requires voters to show a driver's license or other photo identification issued by the Motor Vehicles Department, a passport, military photo identification or a voter registration card with a photo on it.

Asking questions from the bench, the judges pointed out that if they allow South Carolina to implement the law voters would not have much time before the Nov. 6 elections to get required ID.

"Are you urging us to preclear for 2012?" asked John Bates, US District Court Judge for the District of Columbia.

Christopher Bartomolucci, the attorney for South Carolina, said the state wants approval for 2012 as well as future elections. He explained the state's law allows people to claim they were unable to get the required ID because of a "reasonable impediment." People unable to do so because there is not enough time before election day would be able to make that claim, he said.

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