Professor, if the law is considered discriminatory, why isn’t the department of justice rejecting similar voter id laws in other states? What do you think?
Caroline Heldman: I think it’s probably because those states aren’t on the list of eight states that require preclearance because of their history of discrimination, as Katie has pointed out. He’s specifically going after south Carolina and Texas because they’re on that list. Eric Holder could under section 2 also go after any law that is discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. he’s not chosen to do that. I guess I’m a little more pessimistic because I think it’s hard for the average American because of the way this has been framed as voter fraud. Who doesn’t want to stand against fraud?
Because of the way it’s been framed by a lot of conservative outlets, I think it’s hard to make the case that we shouldn’t require i.d. I think it’s hard for people to understand that if they have i.d., it doesn’t mean everyone can get it. That’s the uphill battle. It’s a political hot potato for President Obama to step into this mess. He will face backlash from people who think it’s common sense that people should have i.d.s even though 11% of the American public does not.
Ed Schultz: Well, not everybody in thus country understands how the poor actually lives and how destitute some people can be and want to throw all sorts of restrictions on them. This is a bunch of hoops they have to jump through if they’re going to have the process of having their voice heard. You know, professor, when you look at this, if there’s no voter fraud, it seems to me the Republicans are going to do everything they possibly can to make the case to the American people that there’s fraud everywhere. What about that?
Caroline Heldman: I think what we’re doing is lumping three types of fraud together. One is voter registration fraud which a.c.o.r.n. did engage in. These laws only affect voter impersonation fraud which wouldn’t be at all affecting what happened with a.c.o.r.n. The second, our poll workers or others in positions of power engaging in fraud. Again, this only deals with voter impersonation. When I have conversations about this with folks on the right, they lump all of it together and say it’s a big issue. As you know, Ed, you’re 39 times more likely to be struck by lightning than engage in voter impersonation and four times more likely to report a ufo. I wish Eric Holder would go after the states to justify the decisions. In South Carolina, they weren’t able to show an issue with fraud which is the boldfaced lie on which the efforts are based.
The next time someone tells you that it only makes sense to show ID at the polls, ask them why South Carolina couldn’t show any proof that voter fraud was going on. If there’s no voter fraud, why do they feel compelled to spend all of this money enacting a policy to protect the system from a non-existent threat?
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