Op-ed submission by Project 21
Benjamin Jealous, the president and CEO of the NAACP, heartily embraces the absurd assertion of the left that asking someone to simply prove their identity in order to participate in the sacred honor of casting a ballot is thinly-veiled voter suppression and an assault on civil rights.
At the NAACP’s recent annual convention, the 39-year-old Jealous likened the opposition to popular and democratically-enacted voter ID laws to the civil rights movement when he referenced “Selma and Montgomery times.”
Such rhetoric is nothing but divisive.
I’m sure Mr. Jealous attempted this analogy to create an emotional response about that momentous time in history. What he neglected to inform the assembly of the oldest civil rights organization in the nation was that voter ID combats voter fraud, which currently serves as the biggest hindrance to voting.
It’s time to rebuke the racial oratory meant to compel people into thinking that voter ID has a race-driven agenda. Efforts to prevent voter fraud are not meant to suppress minorities.
What must be rejected is the notion that minorities are too simple-minded or naïve to obtain a government-issued ID. Liberals and leftists claim to defend minorities, students, the elderly and the poor, but they are really just insulting people’s intelligence by saying that obtaining valid ID is beyond those people’s ability.
It’s odd that the left is adamant about a woman being responsible for decisions about her own body (at least when it comes to abortion), yet they are apparently willing to allow for an ignorance for the need for proper identification in our modern world.
Those who labored in the civil rights movement would likely be insulted by these attacks on commonsense protections. Voter ID is not designed to benefit a particular party or a candidate. It is for all Americans. It transcends ideology to want to protect the outcome of elections from being marred by miscreants.
But the issue of racism was unfortunately elevated to an even higher level when embattled Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the NAACP in July. During his speech, Holder compared voter ID to Jim Crow-era poll taxes:
Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes.
Ironically, Holder’s office required members of the media who wished to cover his speech to first present two forms of photo ID.
The hypocritical stance of the left is amusing, yet saddening, to witness because it shows a continuing and genuine disconnect from reality.
Leftists are turning the need to protect voters against identity theft into a weapon in their larger class warfare strategy. They are willing to put the integrity of our electoral process at risk to excite and reinvigorate their political base. They continue to sing the known chorus of racial bigotry because they fear that minorities and seniors will start turning a deaf ear to their policies and that their influence among these voting groups will diminish as a result.
Opposition to voter ID safeguards seems to be all about power and dominion. In all of the bluster over people possibly not having proper ID on Election Day, it seems those worried souls have done little — or maybe even nothing — to work with the laws and get ID to those who lack it. At the same time, they would be working to include these people in the modern world instead of pushing baseless rhetoric that only divides Americans.
The NAACP, Attorney General Eric Holder and any others standing against voter ID laws put our election process and everything that’s been done to expand its access at risk. It’s not complicated. One can either be an ambassador for fairness and justice in voting, or be seen as tolerant of corruption for the sake of political power.
Demetrius Minor is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network and co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show “He Said, She Said” with Project 21 member Stacy Washington.
This is right wing propaganda and it’s shameful that black lackeys for the conservative and racist right is on a major black blog with this crap!
Voter fraud only became an issue when the majority of the elderly and college students voted democratic in the last couple of elections especially in 2008.
A photo college ID and employer ID photos are legitimate as well. The latter especially in Tn. aren’t considered “legitimate ID’. The statistics nor incidents of voter fraud hardly necessitates the tactics being used by these states.
If this writer was actually being balanced with his assertions he would mention how Florida stole votes from Al Gore. Now that was voter fraud.
SAYEED MULAGATA said:
If we expect a lie from anyone it is from the group of Negroes assembled by a white man to justify white privilege. True to form they have attempted to deny what their white conservative comrades acknowledge:
Ms. Miller said:
This entire push to force people to get more ID…is NONSENSE — just a way to block thousands (if not millions) from voting. It smacks of the days of Jim Crow — when Black folks had to count jelly beans in a jar — or recite the Constitution to just get in line to vote. The most ridiculous aspect is that they only want a CERTAIN FORM OF ID….not an employer’s ID…or a college ID…or any other legit ID….BUT THEY will accept a “gun permit.” It’s all very suspicious.
FIRST…we have not had any massive instances of “voter fraud.” Evidently, committing voter fraud is not an appealing crime. Whatever people presented to vote for Bush, Clinton, and all before them was OK.
SECOND…why are they doing it now?…a few months before the Pres. Election… WHY NOT LAST YEAR? Why not 7 yrs. ago? Because there really has never been a major problem with voter fraud.
THIRD… why is it that most of the people supporting this are mostly Tea-publicans ….who are desperate to get that BLACK MAN out of the White House?
And the most outrageous part of this situation is that …for all the pomp and noise over IDs….if someone wants to commit VOTER FRAUD — such requirements to have IDs will not stop them. It has not stopped a lot of others who wanted to get false IDs…for whatever reason.
My daughter is homeless. I won’t explain that or defend it… it just is what it is. She can’t get into a homeless shelter without an ID. She can’t apply for a job or an apartment. Her disability checks were put on hold recently because she was an inmate in jail; she can’t restart them without proving her identity. She asked her representative payee to send her money and couldn’t cash the check without ID. She had to find a friend, sign the check over and have her cash it. The “friend” charged her a pack of cigarettes. Our society already requires people to prove their identity. Why not remove the barriers to getting ID? Why do people have to travel far and pay a lot of money. My daughter’s state ID (applied for, paid for and “in the mail”) cost her $30. When you are living on disability that is quite a lot of money.
I have often wondered how this particular ID issue became a African American/Black people issue. For many of us living in most cities, walking around without ID could mean a trip to jail, let alone getting the “you resemble a suspect…” threat by the cops. Are we, the AA/Black population, really without ID?
Living in the U.S. south has taught me that there are soooo many small towns in the south where I have long suspected that white folk were the one’s voting in the name of long dead relatives. Since there was no ID check and they all knew/know each other I have believed they, the small white towns folk, have been the greatests fraud participants when it came to voting.