COLUMBIA, S.C. — It appears almost certain that lawmakers won't be able to push through the government restructuring legislation wanted by Gov. Nikki Haley, as Democrats have vowed to block it unless Republicans compromise on early voting.

That's an issue that Republicans generally are dead-set against. GOP lawmakers won't be able to pass a resolution that allows them to consider Haley's proposal without the support of at least some Democrats. Haley had hoped the House and Senate could get her legislation approved when they return to the Statehouse on Tuesday for wrap-up on the budget and redrawing election district lines.

Haley's agenda includes: creating a Department of Administration to handle much of the state's bureaucracy; merging the state's prisons and probation agencies; jointly electing the governor and lieutenant governor; and letting the governor appoint the state's education superintendent.

While Republicans have controlled both chambers for years, Democrats control whether Haley's agenda is heard this year. And they're stewing over House Republicans twice killing early voting legislation this year.

Republicans need two-thirds votes of House and Senate members to pass a resolution to take up Haley's legislation, which has cleared the House, but not the Senate. Republicans can't get that without the help of Democrats — and they're insisting Republicans have to give in on early voting.

Senate Rules Chairman Larry Martin, a Pickens Republican, knows the hand Democrats can play.

"It's central to the minority. They made that clear," Martin said.

Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, said it is an opportunity for Democrats to take a greater role in agenda setting. This "is one of those times where we absolutely have leverage," Hutto said.

House Republicans are against early voting — and for flawed reasons, said Wesley Donehue, a Columbia Republican consultant. "There's been a false impression over there that Republicans will be hurt with early voting and I just don't think that's the case," Donehue said.

The impression turns on black churches and other groups being able to turn out voters, Donehue said. He notes Republicans can do that, too, and that Republicans are just as eager as Democrats to avoid Election Day lines with early voting.

House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, said race and concerns about Democrats turning out early votes aren't the issue.

"It's just a big debate to try to have," Harrell said, noting that it would be difficult to pass in just a few days.

Harrell said he won't heed Democrats' calls to put early voting into the mix to get Haley's restructuring measures out of the Senate.

Early voting's best shot came earlier this year amid debate on a bill requiring photo identification to vote — a measure Democrats complained would suppress voter turnout. To appease Democrats, the Senate incorporated a measure allowing an 11-day early voting period. In a conference committee, House Republicans insisted on stripping early voting from the bill and said they would consider a separate early voting bill. That didn't happen.

"Our problem in the Senate is not that Senate Republicans don't support early voting, it's the situation over in the House," Martin said. "They just absolutely refuse."

Martin said House Republicans have agreed in the past to early voting, but insisted on using paper ballots instead of the electronic machines now used on Election Day and for in-person absentee voting.

"Why would you want to use a method of voting that we're not using?" Martin asked.

On June 1, the day before the regular session ended, the Senate voted 39-1 to include the early voting measure in a bill dealing with absentee voting.

Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, cast the lone dissenting vote. He's heard the worries about Democrats turning out black votes with early voting, but voted against the measure for a simple reason. "I think people ought to vote on Election Day," Bright said. He said the state's absentee voting laws already give voters flexibility.

On June 2, with adjournment looming, the House voted 64-38 to indefinitely suspend debate on the voting bill.

State Rep. Alan Clemmons made the motion to essentially kill the bill for the year. He runs the House committee handling voting laws and also led House efforts to strip early voting from the voter ID bill. Clemmons didn't respond to interview requests.

Democrats, including Columbia Sen. John Scott, were incensed by the House's move.

"That's just arrogant," said Scott, D-Columbia. In response, Scott blocked all House bills on the Senate's calendar, including Haley's restructuring measures.

If Haley wants restructuring, Scott said, it's up to her to look after registered voters who want more time to vote or to avoid Election Day lines.

But Haley said the early voting flap shouldn't get in the way of her agenda.

When Haley ordered legislators back into a special session — a move the state Supreme Court nixed with a 3-2 vote Monday — she was asked about early voting. She said it wasn't her priority. "Our focus is on restructuring. My focus is completely on those four bills in restructuring and that is what we need make sure we focus on," Haley said.

On Friday, Haley said she's been talking with Democrats and Republicans alike about getting the restructuring agenda up for debate. Democrats, she said, haven't told her early voting is a deal-maker.

"We need to keep our eye on what's right for the people of this state — and the people of this state want restructuring," Haley said. "And if they want go back and have a debate about early voting, they should do that, but that should be separate and independent of what we're trying to do to restructure state government."

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