This action is par for the course in the Obama/Holder Department of Justice:
The Obama administration on Tuesday will wade into the increasingly divisive national debate over new voting laws in several states that could depress turnout among minorities and others who helped elect the president in 2008. A dozen states this year tightened rules requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Although Democratic governors vetoed four of the measures, liberal and civil rights groups have been raising alarms about the remaining laws, calling them an “assault on democracy” and an attempt to depress minority voter turnout.
Supporters of the tighter laws say they are needed to combat voter fraud. With the presidential campaign heating up, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will deliver a speech Tuesday expressing concerns about the voter-identification laws, along with a Texas redistricting plan before the Supreme Court that fails to take into account the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population, he said in an interview Monday.
“We are a better nation now than we were because more people are involved in the electoral process,’’ Holder said in the interview. “The beauty of this nation, the strength of this nation, is its diversity, and when we try to exclude people from being involved in the process...we weaken the fabric of this country."
The more the merrier! Who cares if they're legally eligible? Why, asking someone to actually prove they are who they claim to be is rank discrimination! Holder -- of course -- insists his actions are entirely divorced from even a hint of political consideration:
Holder said the laws could depress turnout for minorities, poor and elderly people and those with disabilities who would have difficulty securing valid identification documents. He rejected any notion of politics influencing Justice’s decisions on the new laws. “We’re doing this in a very fair, apolitical way,’’ he said. “We don’t want anybody to think that there is a partisan component to anything we are doing.’’
"Very fair" and "apolitical." Right. I suppose it's a remarkable coincidence that the Democratic National Committee also announced a major series of initiatives to combat (you guessed it) voter ID laws earlier this month:
The Democratic National Committee announced new initiatives today to push back against voter identification laws that Democrats say suppress the vote. A new website, ProtectingtheVote.org, makes the case that actual instances of voter fraud are rare, despite Republicans’ success in passing stricter laws to combat fraud in dozens of states. Democrats accuse the GOP of trying to stifle minority votes as a way to win elections.
The site and an accompanying report, “A Reversal in Progress,” are the first step in an “unprecedented voter protection effort,” DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) said during a conference call. “We’re aggressively engaged in making sure that we help voters remove these obstacles and barriers,” Wasserman Schultz said, adding that the voter ID laws favored by Republicans are “essentially designed to rig an election.”
But this isn't a coordinated DOJ/DNC effort, you see. Eric Holder says so, and his word might as well be gospel. According to the WaPo story, in addition to requiring valid photo ID in order to vote, "the measures, most of which were enacted by Republican legislatures, also impose restrictions on early voting and make it harder for former felons to vote. Florida and Ohio, for example — both key battlegrounds — would cut nearly in half the number of days for early voting." Are Democrats eager to illegally enfranchise ex-felon voters? As for the 'early voting halved' statistic, I addressed this point in a report on Florida's "draconian" new law back in June:
GB: What was the thought process behind cutting the early voting window nearly in half [from 15 to 8 days]?
CC: Early voting is not being cut in half. Early voting was 96 hours under the previous law and it’s 96 hours under the new law for every county that needs it. In actuality, early voting is being made more accessible because working voters now have 12 hours in a day to vote early, instead of only 8. They also have 36 hours of possible voting on the weekend instead of only 16. Meanwhile, rural counties have the flexibility to save taxpayer money because they aren’t being forced to keep polling places open a full 12 hours when the locations aren’t being utilized all 12 hours.
I'll leave you with two more salient data points, then a question. (1) Georgia was one of the earlier adopters of this brand of what Democrats would hysterically label voter "suppression" legislation. The deep red state passed a voter ID law in 2007. Liberals sued, and lost. But a funny thing happened on the way to rampant voter suppression: Minority voter participation increased, not only in 2008, but again in 2010. (2) Seventy-five percent of Americans support voter-ID laws. That's a huge super-majority, especially in these polarized times.
Yet undeterred by facts, public opinion, and actual results, the Left-wing outrage machine is again kicking into high gear over newly-enacted legislative efforts to enshrine these wildly popular, common-sense, fraud-reducing measures into law. Question: If Democrats are willing to fight the overwhelming tide of public opinion, and seem desperate to ignore findings that refute their chosen narrative, wouldn't it follow that they're actually being motivated by something other than good governance and ensuring fair and accurate elections? Perish the thought.
UPDATE - Irony alert, via Ed Morrissey:
I wonder if our intrepid, justice-seekin' Attorney General launch an all-out investigation into this vote-suppressin' union? Nah, he's preoccupied with carrying out the people's business. You know, covering up a lethal gun-running program, suing states for trying to enforce federal laws that his own posse won't, forcing local communities to adopt Democrat-friendly party identification mechanisms, dismissing already-won voter intimidation cases, and plotting to transfer alien jihadists into US civilian courts for trial. Priorities.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography