Robert Knight

Less than 10 years ago, many Democrats supported voter ID laws and other election reforms. Now they say such laws are “racist.”

Instead of working to ensure election integrity, Democrats are vigorously waging a holy war on state voter ID laws. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. who is leading the charge, contends that such laws are designed solely to “suppress” minority votes.

He’s getting help from others who know this is false but politically advantageous. On Aug. 28, former President Jimmy Carter told a crowd commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington: "I believe we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the new I.D. requirements to exclude certain voters, especially African Americans.”

Say what?

First, Dr. King was all about fairness, so he presumably would have supported voter ID laws, since everyone is treated equally and these laws protect everyone’s vote. Second, Mr. Carter co-chaired the Commission on Federal Election Reform, whose 2005 report, Building Confidence in U.S. Elections, strongly recommended voter ID laws and other reforms to ensure election integrity.

That was before Democrats captured both houses of Congress in 2006 and then the White House in 2008. Many Democrats who had supported voter ID laws suddenly lost interest. It was also before the Tea Party revolt put a scare into the business-as-usual crowd on Capitol Hill in 2010.

Here’s a sample of what the bipartisan election commission, also co-chaired by former Reagan and H.W. Bush White House Chief of Staff James Baker, suggested.

“We are recommending a photo ID system for voters designed to increase the registration with a more affirmative and aggressive role for states in finding new voters and providing free IDs for those without drivers licenses.”

The commission also urged states to clean up their registrations, which is required under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, better known as “Motor Voter.”

“A complete, accurate, and current voter roll is essential to ensure that every eligible citizen who wants to vote can do so. ... Invalid voter files, which contain ineligible, duplicate, fictional, or deceased voters, are an invitation to fraud.”

Mr. Holder either didn’t read the report or chooses to ignore it, because he has loosed his attorneys on several states, including South Carolina and Texas last year, for doing exactly what the Carter-Baker commission recommended.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.