The Obama administration’s vigorous attacks on voter-ID laws since the president took office in 2009 already have been labeled a “con job” by several experts, and now a statement from Obama himself backs up that perspective.
The administration’s Department of Justice has filed and argued multiple cases, claiming in court that voter-ID requirements – allowing people to vote only if they can show who they are through a driver’s license, an ID card or one of a number of other methods – unfairly take advantage of less “sophisticated” blacks and minorities.
The DOJ is currently trying to overturn a Texas voter-ID law that took effect when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it. The federal lawyers suing the state argue the law imposed burdens on minority voters as blacks and Hispanics disproportionately lacked one of the five forms of approved ID compared with white Texans
The New York Times reported testimony in the Texas case could come from Imani Clark, 22, a college student who used to vote in Waller County using her student ID but has not voted since the law took effect. She claims she doesn’t have an approved form of ID and no access to a car or public transportation to travel to a state office to apply.
States defending their voter-ID laws point out the Obama administration attacks almost exclusively GOP-majority southern states.
But a new confession from Obama himself, reported by The Hill, could be a game-changer.
“Most of these laws are not preventing the overwhelming majority of folks who don’t vote from voting,” he said in a radio interview with civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton. “Most people do have an ID. Most people do have a driver’s license. Most people can get to the polls. It may not be as convenient. It may be a little more difficult.”
Not the laws
In short, Obama affirmed, minorities aren’t hindered from voting because of voter-ID laws.
“The bottom line is, if less than half of our folks vote, these laws aren’t preventing the other half from not voting. The reason we don’t vote is because people have been fed this notion that somehow it’s not going to make a difference. And it makes a huge difference,” Obama was quoted saying.
“If we have a high turnout in North Carolina, then we will win. If we have a high turnout in Georgia, we will win. If we have a high turnout in Colorado, we will win. So, across the board, it is important for us to take responsibility and not give away our power,” Obama said.
Obama himself presented his driver’s license so poll workers could verify his identity when he voted in Chicago on Oct. 20.
The description of Obama’s DOJ campaign regarding voting rights as a “con job” comes from Hans S. von Spakovksy and J. Christian Adams in a commentary published by the Heritage Foundation.
Their argument came up when online gatekeeper Politifact released a list purporting to be more than 100 voting cases pursued by the DOJ.
Obama had made a reference to the cases in a speech to Sharpton’s National Action Network earlier this year.
He said his administration had “taken on more than 100 voting-rights cases since 2009, and they’ve defended the rights of everybody from African Americans to Spanish speakers to soldier serving overseas.”
Reality not impressive
Reality, the two wrote at Heritage, is “far less impressive.” That’s because among the cases listed are dozens that were brought against the Justice Department alleging that it was not doing what it should to protect someone’s voting rights.
“It even includes cases where the DOJ wasn’t even a party but had filed a single amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) brief,” they reported. “In other words, in these cases the DOJ did not, in its view, have a strong enough interest in protecting minority voting rights to do what it usually does in such cases – file a motion to intervene and become an actual party.”
They said the list actually includes 28 cases “approving a ‘bailout’ from the Voting Rights Act – that is, cases in which the Justice Department agreed to extinguish the special protections that the Voting Rights Act affords to minorities.”
“It also seems frankly a little much to claim credit for cases in which courts dismissed DOJ claims as not being credible, such as State of South Carolina v. United States. … In that case, a three-judge federal panel threw out DOJ’s claims that South Carolina’s voter-ID law was discriminatory.”
Actually, they pointed out, the DOJ fought a move by residents of a 65 percent black town in North Carolina to change municipal elections from partisan to nonpartisan. The DOJ argued, until its attorneys could no longer support the claim, that “it was discriminatory because black voters would not know whom to vote for if there was no party label next to a candidate’s name.”
“In giving this trumped-up case list to Politifact, the Obama administration made one thing quite clear: It is trying to mislead the public. For all of its talk, it has filed far fewer lawsuits to enforce the Voting Rights Act than the Bush administration did,” the commentary said.
The case number issue has been surpassed only by the arguments that have been presented, experts say.
DOJ witness: ‘Blacks less sophisticated’
Just days ago, according to the Powerline blog, an expert witness for the Obama administration told a court in a North Carolina voter ID case that election law requirements “have an adverse impact on black voters because they are less ‘sophisticated’ than white voters and therefore have more difficulty figuring out how to register to vote.”
“The requirements that the DOJ’s witness found blacks less able than whites to comply with are (1) registering to vote before the day of the election and (2) voting in the precinct where one lives. Since one needn’t be at all ‘sophisticated’ to comply with either requirement, the DOJ’s witness, who was paid with our tax dollars, must have little regard for African-Americans,” the blog said.
The witness, Charles Stewart, argued people who register at the last minute “tend to be less sophisticated voters, tend to be less educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs.”
Furthermore, he told the court, “people who correspond to those factors tend to be African-Americans.”
Blogger Paul Mirengoff wrote: “To be sure, blacks vote overwhelmingly in favor of [outgoing Attorney General Eric] Holder’s party. Other than that, I see no reason to conclude that they are less ‘sophisticated’ and ‘less attuned to public affairs’ than whites.”
Mirengoff said that to assume African-Americans “pay disproportionately small amounts of attention to their rights and responsibilities as citizens is to make quite an assumption.”
“It is tantamount to saying that, collectively, African-Americans are worse citizens than the rest of us.”
One example of the need for voter ID to protect the integrity of elections was the discovery by Board of Elections officials in the Bronx that 850 New Yorkers registered to vote who purportedly were alive when Abraham Lincoln was president, the New York Post reported.
Board members said people apparently didn’t provide their birthdays when registering to vote, with some simply writing “21+.”
“It’s a little quirk in the system,” said Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan.
“Evidence … shows that Attorney General Holder’s list of voters who lack government issued photo identification is fatally flawed because DOJ’s list includes dead voters, failed to exclude non-Texas residents, and did not attempt to match voters with photo ID databases maintained by the federal government – such as the State Department’s passport database or the Department of Defense’s military identification database,” the report said.
The DOJ’s list of voters who allegedly “lack photo identification,” includes 50,000 dead voters, 330,000 voters over 65 who can vote by mail without ID and “countless” voters who actually have a government-issued photo ID but who were improperly included on the DOJ’s no-identification list, the Texas report said.
Among those on the no-ID list were state Elections Director Keith Ingram, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, former Sen. Phil Gramm, state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte and former President George W. Bush.
Documents prepared for the court dispute said a University of Texas professor retained by the state did a telephone survey sampling Texans on the DOJ’s no-identification list “and found that more than 90 percent reported having a government-issued photo ID.”
The report continued: “During her testimony at trial, Lydia Camarillo, vice president of the Southwestern Voter Education Project, testified she could only identify two voters in the entire state of Texas who do not have state-issued photo identifications – ‘the Rodriguez sisters.’ One … Victoria Rodriquez, a college student from San Antonio and the only voter (out of 13 million in Texas) that either the intervenors – or the DOJ – could produce at trial in support of their contention that voters who lack photo IDs will be unable to vote.
“During Ms. Rodriguez’ testimony, however, those claims fell apart when she testified that she possesses a ‘birth certificate,’ a ‘voter registration card,’ and a ‘social security card.’ Under state regulations, only two of the three forms of identification … are necessary for her to obtain an Election Identification Certificate free of charge,” the report said.
“Ms. Rodriguez testified that she did not have a car and that her parents were too busy to take her to the local DPS office so that she could obtain a free election Identification Certificate. Ironically, however, Ms. Rodriguez explained in detail how she had no trouble securing transportation to the San Antonio airport, flying more than 1,500 miles to Baltimore, and catching a train to Washington, D.C., so that she could testify in federal court about her inability to get to the DPS office back in San Antonio,” the report said.
Ballot box stuffing
WND reported earlier Wednesday on an accusation of vote fraud in an Arizona primary election through ballot-box stuffing.
The chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, A.J. LaFaro, said he obtained video of a man bringing a box of what looked like hundreds of ballots in and stuffing them into a ballot box.
Watch the surveillance video:
“I believe it’s inconceivable, unacceptable and should be illegal for groups to collect hundreds, if not thousands, of voter’s ballots and return them to the elections offices or poling locations,” said LaFaro.
WND has reported on a wide range of allegations of voter fraud over recent years, including a claim by a poll watcher in Pennsylvania that votes in 2012 reverted to Obama by default, no matter who the voter selected.
The incident took place in the state where officials claimed regarding the 2012 presidential election Obama received a total of 19,605 votes in 59 voting divisions to zero for Mitt Romney and not far from the 100 precincts in Ohio in which Obama got 99 percent of the vote.
With evidence mounting that the vote tabulation did not reflect the true choices of voters, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh declared: “Third-world, tin-horn dictators don’t get [these percentages]. I mean, the last guy that got this percentage of the vote was Saddam Hussein, and the people that didn’t vote for him got shot. This just doesn’t happen. Even Hugo Chavez [of Venezuela] doesn’t get 100 percent or 99 percent of the vote.”
It was in Upper Macungie Township, near Allentown, Pennsylvania, where an auditor, Robert Ashcroft, was dispatched by Republicans to monitor the vote on Election Day 2012. He said the software he observed would “change the selection back to default – to Obama.”