The voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas, both covered by the Voting Rights Act, are among the most high profile because they are under court challenge.
A federal court last month rejected the Texas voter ID law. The U.S. Supreme Court likely will decide its fate, possibly in tandem with the S.C. law.
South Carolina sued Holder over his rejection of its law, which Gov. Nikki Haley signed in May 2011. The case opened last month in Washington with five days of often dramatic testimony to be summarized Monday.
Under questioning from the three-judge panel hearing the case last month, Andino said the state would give the benefit of the doubt to voters who lack a drivers license, a military ID or three other new forms of photo ID required by the law.
Andino also said notaries would not charge those voters for signing affidavits citing a reasonable impediment to obtaining the IDs. And she said the affidavits would not have to be notarized if a notary wasnt available at the polling station where the voter was casting a ballot.
Opposing lawyers ripped the notary fees as a new type of poll tax, among the most odious of the former Jim Crow laws used in Southern states to block African-Americans from voting.
Beeney said the states more lenient explanations of how it would enact the law contradict its earlier positions and, in part, the laws codified requirements.
The states constantly shifting interpretation of the (voter ID) act is characterized by multiple inconsistencies, contradictions and non sequiturs, Beeney said. They literally are all over the map.
The states most recent pledges that it will abide by Andinos testimony puts her squarely in the spotlight. crosshairs.
Ms. Andinos efforts to rewrite the voter law so that it doesnt disenfranchise minorities are certainly admirable, but South Carolina law provides no legal basis for Ms. Andino to interpret the voter ID law, much less provide an authoritative interpretation, Beeney said.
S.C. Attorney General Wilson expressed confidence that the state will prevail.
This law was passed almost a year and a half ago, Wilson said. South Carolina looks forward to oral arguments on Monday and to the courts final decision.
Too late for November?
If the three-judge panel upholds the voter ID law in a ruling expected next month, it technically would be in effect in South Carolina for the Nov. 6 elections. However, Wilson told the court that such a decision would come too late to apply the law then.
If the panel rejects the voter ID law, a Supreme Court ruling would all but certainly come after the elections, so it wouldnt be in place on Election Day.
In a highly unusual move, the three judges asked South Carolinas lawyers to respond to eight written post-trial questions clarifying how state officials would implement the law. The judges questions indicated the frustration they had expressed in questions at the trial over the states changing positions.
Can we then expect that there will not be new facts and new interpretations of (the voter ID law) and its implementation that will be offered during the course of the briefing (Monday) or through Attorney General (Wilson) opinions or any other methods? the judges asked in one of the post-trial questions.
Lawyers for South Carolina provided a succinct response.
The state does not intend to present any facts or interpretations inconsistent with Ms. Andinos testimony, they wrote.