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Eric HolderHere in South Carolina, there is a big kerfuffle over the Voter ID law that Governor Nikki Haley signed last month. Every time such a law is bandied about, out come the tiresome cries of racism. Voter fraud is no longer an issue, you see, if the race card is able to be played. Identity politics trumps all, including facts.
Eric Holder's Justice Department is always at the ready to charge in with cries of racism and it did so here as well. Funny, but Mr. Holder doesn't seem to care about Planned Parenthood's 'racist' policy of requiring a photo ID before one can obtain an abortion. Nor does he seem to care about the fact that voter fraud is rampant, even in his own voting precinct. This video shows how easy it is for anyone to walk in off the street and obtain Eric Holder's ballot. But, hey, those racist RepubliKKKans!
SC Representative James Clyburn predictably jumped in with the old "ZOMG it's the new Jim Crow!" In reality, it is those who oppose Voter ID laws who are the new Jim Crow. Opponents cite a report by the Center for American Progress that claims 25 percent of minorities do not have valid photo identification. If true, and if they care about something besides their own power (fraud works in their favor), then shouldn't they be more concerned with the fact that 25 percent of minorities cannot fully function in modern society? I had to show my driver's license to pay with my debit card at Old Navy last week, for cripes sake. You need a photo ID to board a plane. You cannot enter Eric Holder's own Justice Department without one. You cannot fully function in the modern day without a photo ID.
Which is why the Republicans, when attempting to enact such laws, always make provisions for helping people to obtain a photo ID. They will make arrangements to help you get one -- for free. You can sign an affidavit explaining hardship if you do not qualify for a free photo ID. You can still vote provisionally, regardless. As South Carolina's Attorney General said, "It doesn't disenfranchise anybody ... It treats everyone equally. People could still show up on Election Day and sign a sworn affidavit saying they are who they say they are, and they would be allowed to vote. So there’s a safety net there.”
Eric Holder's Justice Department also plays fast and loose with the numbers. In its objection letter to South Carolina, it claims that the law would have a discriminatory effect on 'non-white' voters. Heritage Foundation proves this claim false. And it's not just false on paper, it's false in practice. Georgia implemented such a law (and South Carolina's is even more lenient) six years ago. Know what happened? Voting by black voters increased from 513,700 in 2006 to 741,000 in 2010. How racist!
Yet, according to opponents of Voter ID laws, we all shouldn't bother renewing our drivers' licenses because our liberty is infringed every time we are asked to show it. Try that excuse next time you are pulled over for speeding. Somehow, I don't think it would fly and the public agrees. In opinion poll after opinion poll, nearly 75 percent of voters agree with Voter ID laws.
The real Jim Crow is the people who care more about politics than people. Instead of incessantly whining about how everyone has the right to 'access' to birth control (when everyone already does), why not make sure that everyone has access to a photo ID so that they can be fully functioning members of a modern day society?
But I guess that makes it harder for dead people to vote in Chicago.
This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, read Do You Support Voter Identification Laws?
Image via RyanJReilly/Flickr