Voter identification has become a red-hot issue in this presidential election cycle. One side says it’s reasonable to expect someone to identify themselves before exercising their right to vote to insure there is no fraud. And the other side suggests that by forcing someone to obtain picture identification places an undue hurdle in their ability to exercise a right.
On HuffPost Live on Tuesday, the Huffington Post’s new online streaming video section, HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher lashed out against proponents of voter identification and likened such laws to requiring aptitude tests of “tea baggers” wishing to vote.
“The voter registration laws that they’re trying to pass — they’re basically suppressing the vote,” Maher said. “Voter ID — you need a picture ID now to vote, you know. We’re going to propose, ‘Yeah, we’ll give you that, but then we get to give the tea baggers a literacy test.’ If you’re going to make poor black people jump through a hoop to vote, then we’re going to make tea baggers answer the question: Is Africa a country or a continent? Name a country that speaks French. You know, things like that.”
His argument is that though it sounds reasonable, it’s not really an issue and is potentially motivated by Republicans wishing to suppress the black vote.
“Because it sounds reasonable,” he said. “You know — if you don’t look beneath the surface. ‘Why shouldn’t people go out and get a picture ID? Well, because you know — first of all, never call Republicans racist. That’s not what they are. However, they did find something they do that it would be harder for a lot of black people to do. Yes, as you say nobody does this. Nobody like impersonates other people. I think it happened 10 times … not 10 percent of the time, but 10 times.”
But Maher pinpointed what in his view is the hurdle the GOP is attempting to place in front of people to disenfranchise their vote. According to the HBO host, Republicans have apparently discovered poor blacks don’t drive, and that they take the bus. Therefore, they don’t need a picture ID and picking up on that, in his estimation, is how the GOP can succeed in obstructing the black vote.
“So it’s crazy — but obviously Republicans, because they love the country and because the Constitution, they ask themselves what is that thing that maybe black people can’t get to? What do we have that they don’t have? Well, they take the bus because they’re poor. So they don’t have a car. They don’t need a picture ID. You know, Tagg Romney doesn’t have this problem. He has a picture ID.”