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Despite Promise to Drive People to the DMV Herself, Gov. Nikki Haley Won’t Help Vet Who Needs ID

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Republican candidate for governor Nikki Haley speaks to supporters at Moe's Southwest Grill in Mt. Pleasant on Friday afternoon.

CREDIT: Flickr / Mary Austin

Last week, Campus Progress wrote about the attention that voter ID laws having been getting in the mainstream media as of late. Specifically, we highlighted this clip from The Colbert Report that calls out South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for promising to help anyone who was having trouble getting the ID needed to satisfy the state’s new voter ID requirement by driving them to the DMV herself. As ThinkProgress pointed out, this would mean that Governor Haley would have to put together a caravan large enough to service 178,000 voters who currently lack the type of photo ID necessary to vote under the new law.

So, Governor Haley must be spending all of her free time negotiating two-for-one discounts on minivans, right? Wrong. Turns out Governor Haley maybe didn’t really intend to help all those disenfranchised voters, which is unfortunate for people like 76 year-old Army veteran Robert Tucker.

Mr. Tucker lacks an accurate birth certificate, which is necessary for him to acquire the voter ID he’ll need to be able to vote once the new law goes into effect. So, Mr. Tucker’s cousin Edith Cunningham called up the Governor’s office on his behalf to see if someone could help. Instead of offering to work with him or help him acquire an ID, Haley’s staff responded that her cousin should“go to legal aid.”

When the South Carolina Democratic Party got wind of the situation, they jumped at the chance to use it as an opportunity to call out Governor Haley for her hypocrisy. They featured Mr. Tucker in an online ad which grabbed the attention of a local TV news station in Columbia. Check out video below of the story they ran Wednesday night:

Interestingly, when the reporter called the Governor’s office for comment, he got a very different response. In fact, it was the complete opposite of what Ms. Cunningham was told:

“Yes, we will assist M. Tucker, as we'll work to assist anyone who is having trouble getting state services…Anyone who feels they cannot get a picture ID should call the governor's office.”

For the sake of Mr. Tucker and the 178,000 residents who stand to be disenfranchised, we hope that Governor Haley will keep her promise at all times – and not just when the cameras are pointed in her direction.

Katie is the Communications and Outreach Manager for Campus Progress.

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