South Carolina strikes back against the Obama Justice Department.
Seeking to overturn a DOJ judgment that its voter photo identification law, passed in May 2011, violates the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA), the state of South Carolina recently announced that it is suing the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder in federal court.
The decision by South Carolina comes as the DOJ is vigorously working to stop the spread of states enacting or implementing voter photo ID laws, prompting fears that the Obama administration is undermining the integrity of the upcoming 2012 elections.
In December 2011, the DOJ blocked South Carolina’s new voter ID law from taking effect when it determined the South Carolina law was discriminatory, citing an unfair burden on minority voters.
That unfair burden required registered South Carolina voters to produce a state-issued photo ID or a federal substitute, such as a US passport or military ID, at the polls in order to cast a ballot.
The passage of the law was prompted by a state review of voter registration rolls that found 85,000 registered voters in South Carolina lacked a photo ID issued by the state DMV, with 37,000 of those registered actually being deceased.
However, South Carolina -- one of seven states in the past year and 15 overall to adopt a photo ID law intended to prevent voter fraud -- is not the only state whose new law has run afoul of the Obama Justice Department.
The state of Texas has recently launched a similar suit against the DOJ over its own photo ID law, one passed by overwhelming bi-partisan support in May 2011 but which has been twice delayed by the DOJ from taking effect.
It should be noted that while the DOJ may find voter photo ID laws unconstitutional, that view hasn’t been shared by the Supreme Court. In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Indiana’s photo ID requirement when it ruled that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights.
In arguing that voter fraud in close elections would dilute the valid votes of legitimate voters, sway close elections, and negatively impact voter confidence, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority that Indiana’s voter ID law is “amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.”
Still, those on the left, like former President Clinton, continue to insist that forcing someone to show a photo ID in order to vote is racist and marks the return of Jim Crow. In Virginia, Democratic State Senator Mamie Locke responded to the recent passage of a photo identification law in both chambers of the state legislature by saying “This bill --and others like it -- is so 1866.”
Of course, if that is true, then also apparently racist are current photo identification requirements for all Americans that include cashing checks; opening a bank account; boarding airline flights; purchasing firearms; driving automobiles; buying alcohol and tobacco products; renting/buying property; purchasing prescription drugs; applying for food stamps; applying for welfare; applying for a bank loan; applying for a job; and using a credit/debit card.
Nevertheless, liberals have complained strenuously that voter ID bills suppress the votes of minorities, the elderly, and the poor, contending that these groups are less likely to either have or be able to afford photo identification.
These same people, however, neglect to mention that every state that has passed a voter ID law has also ensured that individuals who do not have a photo ID can easily obtain one for free if they cannot afford one. In fact, South Carolina’s ID law goes as far as to state that if a voter claims to have had a “reasonable impediment” to getting a photo ID, they can vote anyway.
Moreover, minority voter turnout has actually increased in states that have implemented voter ID laws. In Georgia, for example, which enacted a photo ID law in 2008, the number of African-American voters has increased more than ten percent after the new law went into effect.
Given all that, it’s not surprising then to find that voter photo ID laws have engendered widespread bi-partisan and bi-racial support, evidenced by a December 2011 Rasmussen poll which found 70 percent of likely US voters believing that voters “should be required to show photo identification such as a driver’s license before being allowed to cast their ballot.”
Yet, neither popular will nor common sense appears to sway Attorney General Holder who, days before the DOJ rejected the South Carolina voter ID law in December, said we must “call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success.”
The reality, of course, is that voter ID laws have nothing do with racism and everything to do with winning elections, in particular the re-election of President Obama.
Democratic Representative Donna Christensen of the Congressional Black Caucus made that point when she said in January that voter ID laws “whether racially based or not, is a direct attempt to not only undermine the election process, but a specific attempt to derail what surely would be and ought to be the re-election of Barack Obama.”
For his part, Democratic Representative Charles Rangel said he wasn’t sure if the voter ID laws are being advanced due to “the color of the President” or because Obama “received record-breaking participation by the very same people that they’re making it difficult to vote.”
So, given those two comments, it wasn’t too surprising when Judicial Watch recently announced that documents it had obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show the DOJ and Obama White House partnering with ACORN-affiliated Project Vote on a national campaign to use the NVRA to register a key voting demographic for the Obama 2012 re-election campaign: recipients of public assistance programs.
To that end, since 2008 Project Vote has been using the threat of DOJ lawsuits under Section 7 of the NVRA -- which relates to welfare office voter registration obligations -- to pressure officials in various states to change policies and procedures to increase voter registration among public assistance recipients, such as those who receive food stamps, welfare and unemployment.
Since 2008 Project Vote and ACORN (now renamed the Affordable Housing Centers of America) has successfully pressured officials in Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, New Mexico, and Colorado to implement these new policies. In the case of Colorado, those changes have led to the state having four times the national average of invalid voter registration forms.
It should be noted that Project Vote and ACORN have both been linked to massive voter registration fraud with at least 70 ACORN/Project Vote employees having been convicted of voter registration fraud in a dozen states since 2006.
Moreover, a 2009 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report found approximately one-third of the 1.2 million new registrations turned in by Project Vote and ACORN in 2008 to be fraudulent.
Not surprisingly, despite those allegations, the Obama administration failed to pursue a criminal investigation against these groups, claiming they had broken no laws but had merely engaged in “questionable hiring and training practices.”
That 2009 decision coincided at the same time the Obama Justice Department refused to go forward with a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers who were videotaped carrying clubs and baseball bats, shouting racial slurs and issuing threats to intimidate Philadelphia voters during the 2008 election.
So, given the Obama administration’s lackluster commitment to ensuring the integrity of the electoral system, its stance on preventing the enactment of photo ID laws led Judicial Watch President Tom Fritton to recently conclude, “President Obama and the Holder Justice Department evidently have no interest in clean elections this year,” adding, “This is a recipe for voter fraud and stolen elections.”
Unfortunately, it’s a recipe that continues to faithfully serve and nourish the electoral prospects of the Obama administration.
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