It didn’t take U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder very long to challenge new voting laws, by stepping into the mix last Friday to “Reject” South Carolina’s new law–requiring all prospective voters to present an approved photo ID, in order to receive their ballot.
Since the Republican influx of 2010, many states across the nation have enacted new voting restrictions, including Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin that will now require a photo ID in order to vote.
Eric Holder’s particular interest in this case stems from the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which mandates South Carolina, as well as Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, to receive federal approval for any changes they make to their voting laws. This is to ensure the new laws will not unduly infringe on minorities’ access to the ballot box–as these states had a “history” of doing, over 47 years ago.
DOJ Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, wrote in a letter to South Carolina officials … “The absolute number of minority citizens whose exercise of the franchise could be adversely affected by the proposed requirements runs into the tens of thousands,” according to a Washington Post article from Friday.
He cited data supplied by the state as showing that there were “81,938 minority citizens who are already registered to vote and who lack” such identification, and that these voters are nearly 20 percent more likely be “disenfranchised” by the change than white voters, according to a Friday New York Times article by Charlie Savage.
Gov. Nikki Haley denounced the decision, accusing the Obama administration of “bullying” the state. “It is outrageous, and we plan to look at every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process and our 10th Amendment rights,” she said in a statement.
Richard L. Hasen, an election law specialist at the University of California, Irvine, predicted on his Election Law Blog that the state would go to court, which could set up a “momentous” decision in the Supreme Court on whether a part of the Voting Rights Act that prevents states like South Carolina from changing their voting rules without federal permission is unconstitutional.
South Carolina provided data, in its application to the DOJ, comparing its registered voters to those who had an identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, including a demographic breakdown of the 240,000 registered voters who it said did not have such identification.
However, Department of Motor Vehicles executive director Kevin Shwedo, said the state Election Commission knew it was using inaccurate data when it released reports showing nearly 240,000 active and inactive voters lacked driver’s licenses or ID cards … thereby creating “artificially high numbers to excite the masses.”, according to a Friday Associated Press article.
To correct those inaccuracies, Shwedo sent the state’s attorney general an analysis showing that 207,000 of those 240,000 voters now live in other states, allowed their ID cards to expire, probably have licenses with names that didn’t match voter records or were dead.
Even though the South Carolina law also allows several other forms of photographic identification to be used, such as military ID cards or passports, and will provide a state [non-driving] photo ID to any eligible voter for free.
Evidently Greenville, South Carolina native Jesse Jackson didn’t read the ‘photo ID will be provided free‘ part of the law before sharing his thoughts … “[these] laws are like modern day poll taxes, targeting elderly people that can’t afford to get IDs and students.
Unfortunately, Mr. Jackson’s statement lacks any authority or fact, and is in direct conflict with the NYT’s Savage … ‘against the backdrop of the 2008 election–when a huge turnout of young and minority voters helped propel Mr. Obama to victory.
It is supremely asinine to suggest that anyone determined enough to make their way to a voting booth–cannot also be determined enough to procure a free, state issued photo ID.
However, Gov. Haley must now either vacate the “rejected” law, or petition a federal court in the District of Columbia for adjudication–promptly.
In view of the Obama/Holder DOJ’s affirmative action stance against voter fraud prosecutions, especially where minorities are concerned, where they cut loose the indicted New Black Panthers and were totally AWOL on ACORN’s 50+ convicitions–it would seem that petitioning the court with a rock solid case could prove to be the most appropriate course of action in this case.
To reconstitute a phrase from a former boss and mentor…
“If you’re waiting for Eric Holder–you’ve waited too long.”
Copyright (c) 2011 by Jeffrey Klein
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