Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Ken Klukowski
Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched an all-out war on voter-ID laws and other measures to safeguard to the electoral process. Although Holder’s actions are purportedly to prevent African-Americans from being disenfranchised, the reality is that they serve the crass political purpose of ensuring that Holder’s boss gets reelected next year.
In the past several years states have increasingly focused on measures to protect the vote. After years of the federal government loosening voting regulations, such as through the Motor Voter Act and HAVA (Help America Vote Act), the pendulum started swinging back at the state level.
The clearest example of this trend is through voter-ID laws. In 2008 the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s landmark law requiring citizens to show that they are the person they claim to be by showing government-issued ID before casting a ballot. But to ensure that those without driver’s licenses or passports are not disenfranchised, Indiana provides free ID’s to everyone who applies for one. The Court upheld this law, with the primary opinion written by no one less than liberal lion Justice John Paul Stevens.
Such laws combat voter fraud that we see on Election Day, especially in certain parts of the nation. In Washington State, King County suddenly “discovered” enough previously “unnoticed” votes for Democrat Christine Gregoire to edge out Republican Dino Rossi for Washington’s governorship in 2004. There are also examples from Wisconsin, Missouri, and other states.
Yet Holder has blocked South Carolina’s voter-ID law. DOJ argues that this law is different from Indiana’s because South Carolina is subject to additional federal oversight under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. (This is especially important because there are several federal cases challenging the constitutionality of Section 5.)
But the reality is that DOJ’s actions are not focused on protecting voting rights. They are instead intended to make sure that Barack Obama wins reelection.
It’s not cynical to say this. The twelve or so battleground states that will decide the 2012 presidential election suggest Obama’s reelection strategy. These states include Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri. All these states have large African-American populations.