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Photo ID Laws: Welcome Back, Jim Crow?

Where is the righteous indignation among black Americans at being portrayed as helpless children?

by
La Shawn Barber

Bio

September 22, 2011 - 12:00 am
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Voter ID law opponents in certain states can cite Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to support their claims, no matter how outrageous. The provision requires states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina to seek U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approval, or “preclearance,” to change voting procedures. In 1975, Congress added Texas to the list of states covered by the provision. A utility district in Texas that came into existence in 1986 challenged the law and contended that after over 40 years of racial progress, the preclearance requirement is based on outdated evidence. The court declined to rule on the constitutionality of Section 5, but held that the utility district was eligible to apply for a preclearance exemption.

In their accusations against Governor Perry, the ACLU and other leftist groups submitted a 31-page letter (PDF) to the DOJ, which reads in part:

[V]oters of color are disproportionately less likely to possess the required forms of identification and do not have the same access to those forms of identification (or to the “free” election identification certificate, for that matter) as their White counterparts. Under the benchmark plan, an elector may vote after presenting his/her voter registration certificate or, in lieu of that, another form of non-photographic identification. Because the Act prohibits a voter from voting unless s/he presents a photo ID, voters of color will not be able to exercise their franchise to the same degree as White voters and their voting strength will be diluted.

What is preventing these “voters of color” from acquiring a photo ID card? In what way are they different from their “White counterparts”? These are the kind of questions every black American should be asking, not just a handful that includes me. Where is the righteous indignation at being portrayed as helpless children? The only people who should take issue with voter ID laws are those who intend to perpetrate a fraud. No responsible, law-abiding citizen should have any problem with such laws.

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out why liberals engage in such hyperbole and condescension. Ninety percent of black voters choose Democrats, and if portraying them as eternally oppressed victims of racism and bias gets them to the polls, so be it.

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La Shawn Barber is a freelance writer who blogs at http://lashawnbarber.com.
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