WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Feb. 15, presidential hopeful and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) delivered a speech kicking off her 2024 presidential campaign, where she endorsed identification requirements to vote across the country. “In the America I see, everyone has full confidence in our elections,” Haley said one day after launching her bid for the Republican nomination for president. “Voter ID will be the law of the land — just like we did in South Carolina.” Haley served as governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 before being appointed by former President Donald Trump — now his opponent in the 2024 race — to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Though she did not specify what type of identification requirement a future Haley administration would push for, South Carolina is one of 18 states currently with a photo ID law in effect. Photo ID laws to vote are the most restrictive version of voter identification rules, requiring more documentation than is necessary to prove one’s identity at the polls. These laws are also a relatively recent phenomenon, proliferating across Republican-controlled states in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) that no longer required states with histories of racial discrimination to obtain federal approval before enacting election laws.
Federal voting rights legislation that would have created national standards in voting faltered in the U.S. Senate in January 2022. The compromise version of the original voting rights bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, would have created uniform standards for voter identification. However, these standards would be more permissive than those already in place in many states and only apply to states that already have a voter ID requirement.