U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made a calculated statement accusing Republicans of wanting to find U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress because of his efforts to “stop voter suppression.” Quickly joining Pelosi’s insultingly dumb chorus are followers of the Rev. Al Sharpton with their claim that voter ID mandates inhibit the turnout of racial minorities, disabled and older people.
There’s nothing, of course, that connects a probe into a gun-running operation known as “Operation Fast and Furious” and Holder’s Justice Department attempt to prevent states from removing ineligible felons, ineligible immigrants and the dead from voter rolls. The contrived controversy is a reckless attempt to scare black and Hispanic voters into thinking there is a conspiracy afoot to deprive them of their constitutional right to vote.
Holder, appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama, is fly-specking proposed changes in state’s voting laws to “ensure” they are not discriminatory. “When a jurisdiction fails to meet its burden of proving that a proposed voting change will not have a racially discriminatory effect,” the attorney general said, “we will object, as we have in 15 separate cases since last September.”
His Justice Department has indeed blocked an ID law in Texas saying it disproportionately harms Hispanics, as well as a law in South Carolina that allegedly had an adverse effect of black voters. An initiative by Florida to remove non-citizens from voter registration lists is being challenged on the grounds that it is illegal to conduct such a purge approaching an election.
Heading for Michigan Gov. Snyder’s signature is a requirement to have photo identification to cast an absentee ballot and affirm one’s U.S. citizenship when registering to vote. It too has incurred the wrath of the usual parasitic Mau Mau’s who also insinuate that the legislation has a racial motive.
So far, Holder has had a hands-off approach to Michigan’s law. Partly because of a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in an Indiana case that the inconvenience of obtaining an ID was not a substantial burden on the right to vote. And partly because the prior year, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of 2005 PA 71, the voter photo ID requirement.
Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. wrote for the majority: “The identification requirement is a reasonable, nondiscriminatory restriction designed to preserve the purity of elections and to prevent abuses of the electoral franchise…. thereby preventing lawful voters from having their votes diluted by those cast by fraudulent voters.”
All the opposition, however, flies in the face of a recent audit of state voting records by Michigan Auditor General’s office that found evidence of people lying about who they are, and convicted felons, the dead and illegals casting ballots.
Auditors, for example, found that 1,375 dead people cast 1,381 ballots between 2008 and 2011. And although state law bars Michigan adults from voting while serving time in state or federal prison, the audit found 48 prison inmates voted 52 times during the audited time period. Detroit has long been a cesspool for real or alleged voter fraud.
The law notwithstanding, Pelosi, Holder and Rev. Sharpton are prophetic if they sense that black voters may not show up to vote for the president in the 90th percentile as they did four years ago. But if they stay home, it won’t be because of a voter ID mandate.
Obama has demonstrated that when given a reason to do so, blacks vote. However the huge turnout was primarily in response to the prospect of the nation’s first black president and Obama’s “campaign of hope.” Obama, though, can’t assume blacks remain committed without real “change.” Unable to cash Obama’s campaign promises at the bank of opportunity, blacks may see no real empowerment benefit beyond racial pride by his reelection.
Although there are no real legal impediments between black Americans and the voting booth, there is no guarantee that motivated and energized black voters won’t be in short supply come November. If they choose to go fishing, it will be largely due to Obama’s inability to deliver on the promise of jobs to his “natural” constituency.