In one charged exchange, Beeney ridiculed the claim that blacks without acceptable photo identification would be protected by provisions in the South Carolina law allowing them to sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot.
Campsen acknowledged that affidavits must be notarized under separate state law and that notaries charge for their services.
If you walk in (to a voting precinct) and you have to pay a notary, you dont think thats a poll tax? Beeney asked in reference to one of the most odious of former Jim Crow laws.
I dont think they (notaries) would charge, Campsen responded. I dont think it will be administered that way.
Campsen was in the position of defending a law that Clemmons and other South Carolina House Republicans had stripped of key provisions Campsen had pushed.
Beeney prodded Campsen to acknowledge that those provisions permitting early voting and the use of federal, state and municipal employee ID cards would have softened the laws impact on minority voters and drawn support from black legislators who, in the provisions absence, unanimously opposed it.
Campsen said that despite the failure to gain inclusion of such protections, he backed the bill that eventually emerged because governing requires compromise.
Youre not a dictator, Campsen said. You also have a legislative reality youre dealing with, with 45 other senators and 124 members of the House and rules and procedures that trip things up. Thats the nature of the democratic process.
Campsen said the South Carolina measure was modeled after voter ID laws in Georgia and Indiana. He conceded through questioning that those states allowed early voting and the use of a broad range of photo identification, including expired drivers licenses.
Beeney displayed a South Carolina map with bus routes. It showed that counties with the largest black populations have little or no public transportation that could take people without cars to local election offices to obtain new photo voter registration cards created by the law.
After Campsen said he was aware of the states inadequate transit system, Beeney pounced.
You also know that African-Americans generally dont vote for Republicans? he asked Campsen.
Thats what election returns say, Campsen responded.