In recent years, there has been a push in many states for laws that require voters to show a photo ID in order to vote. There has also been a noisy backlash against such laws, with shouts of “voter disenfranchisement,” and claims that the Republican Party is trying to “block the vote.” Attorney General Eric Holder, whom one might think has bigger concerns, recently blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law, as reported by Fox News:
The latest voter ID controversy centers on South Carolina’s photo ID law, which the Justice Department blocked on Dec. 23, claiming it will hurt minorities and the poor.
Attorney General Eric Holder exhorted people to oppose such efforts just days before the move.
“Call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success,” he told a group at the LBJ Center in Austin, Texas.
It was perhaps inevitable that much of the backlash is predicated on claims that such laws are “racist.” From Politico:
The 67-page study released by the civil rights group found 14 states enacted a total of 25 measures that the NAACP said are tantamount to a coordinated assault on voting rights, with the African-American and other minority communities as the primary victims.
“These new tactics will weaken the electoral strength of communities of color, students and the poor [and] attack the very electoral strength that made possible the nation’s first black president,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous told reporters on a conference call Monday.
Of course, that would seem to imply that it is also racist to require state-issued photo IDs for buying alcoholic beverages or tobacco, flying on a commercial airplane, etc. That “etc.” also includes, of course, buying firearms (and in many states, ammunition, as well).
We have talked about that from a slightly different angle before, when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Washington’s voting ban for felons. The court’s logic was that felon voting bans disproportionately affect racial minorities, because non-whites are approached by police, arrested, convicted and incarcerated more than equally criminal white suspects. That, obviously, would mean that minorities are disproportionately disarmed by the Gun Control Act of 1968, which bans firearm possession by felons.
Odd, isn’t it, that both the 9th Circuit Court and the NAACP seem not to object to people of color being disproportionately subjected to mandated defenselessness?
Voting, unlike the Constitutionally enumerated right to keep and bear arms, depends for its very legitimacy on the voter being who he or she claims to be. Some would doubtless argue that abuse of the right to keep and bear arms is far more dangerous than abuse of the right to vote. To make that argument, though, they have to forget that Hitler positioned himself to become Chancellor through the vote. The power of Chancellor, combined with Article 48 (which was the work of Max Weber, so admiringly cited by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence for his advocacy of a “government monopoly on force”), made seizure of dictatorial powers a fairly simple matter.
With governments historically being by far the most prolific mass-murderers in the world, (and with the victims often chosen along ethnic lines), how can protection of the legitimacy of the process by which the government is chosen be considered “racist,” while far more onerous requirements for possessing the tools to resist such murderous tyranny is not?
- Federal court recognizes felons’ right to vote–what about self-defense?
- Living for 170,000,000
- Holder position on voter ID exposes racial discrimination against gun ownership