South Carolina Unnecessarily Requires Potential Voters to Disclose Full Nine-Digit Social Security Number, Rejects Applications That Do Not Contain Full SSN
Privacy, ID Theft Concerns Prevent Registration, Participation – Nearly One Million South Carolinians Eligible but Unregistered
The South Carolina Democratic Party, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee , and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today filed a lawsuit to eliminate South Carolina’s unconstitutional requirement that potential voters disclose their nine-digit Social Security number — a burden that suppresses registration and voter participation.
The unnecessary statute impacts individuals who want to vote but do not want to risk their privacy or identity theft. It also undermines organizations that work to register voters.
Both the federal and state government advise against providing SSNs unless completely necessary. South Carolina is one of just five states with an SSN registration requirement. Nearly one million South Carolinians are eligible to vote but have not registered.
“Republicans claim they love freedom and democracy, but take every chance they get to make it more difficult for all South Carolinians to fully participate in our democracy and vote,” said South Carolina Democratic Chairman Trav Robertson, Jr. “We want to protect the personal information of all South Carolina residents. Providing a full social security number to a stranger to register to vote is not only unnerving for many, but also completely unnecessary. Eliminating the requirement to disclose a full SSN helps lift a serious barrier to voting and ensures all South Carolinians can take part in our democracy and elect their representatives.”
“Voters should not have to fear that registering to vote will expose them to identity theft,” DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos said. “That’s why we’re taking on South Carolina’s unconstitutional requirement that voters provide their full Social Security number when they register to vote, a blatant attempt to discourage people from registering to vote and making their voices heard. As 2020 approaches we’re taking on voter suppression laws across the country because we should all be working to increase access to the ballot, not restrict it.”
“Voters shouldn’t have to choose between protecting their privacy and participating in our democracy,” said DSCC Chair Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “We’re challenging this risky and unnecessary requirement because we stand firm in our commitment to making it easier, not harder, for Americans to vote.”
Today’s lawsuit is the latest in a series of actions Democrats have taken to protect the integrity of elections in states across the country. Earlier this month, party committees, state parties and party organizations challenges unconstitutional ballot order statutes in three battleground states and secured a victory on a similar case in Florida. The ruling overturned the state’s law requiring that ballots list Republicans first, giving GOP candidates a documented and unfair advantage.
Read the complaint here.