Inside and outside a federal courtroom a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, it appeared to be a rough week for South Carolina’s bid to obtain court approval to enact its controversial voter ID law.
During five days of testimony on a disputed voter ID law, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia repeatedly upheld objections that the state’s lawyers were asking leading questions of their witnesses or prodding them to recount third-party conversations the judges struck down as hearsay.
In a case that, under the Voting Rights Act, hinges partly on whether the voter ID law was motivated by discriminatory intent, the law’s chief architect, state Rep. Alan Clemmons, was compelled to admit he’d responded sympathetically to a racist email sent to him about the measure as he was crafting it.
And Marci Andino, executive director of the State Election Commission, testified that her agency lacked the legal authority to impose on county election boards and poll workers a uniform standard on how to implement some of the disputed law’s key provisions.
Her testimony troubled the judges, who noted that it was at odds with what she and other South Carolina officials had said earlier in documents and depositions for the trial about how the law would be handled.
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