The myth of the “racist voter ID laws” is the thing that won’t die.
Last week, CNN’s April Ryan brought up the issue in a press briefing with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, which centered on the Trump administration’s response to Russia’s election meddling.
“So, Sarah, since you keep saying that the president is very concerned about the election process…you did not mention voter suppression in that. Voter suppression has been an issue for decades and particularly in these last few elections,” Ryan said. “When he was talking about voter fraud people were talking about voter suppression. Is voter suppression now on the table as well?”
Sanders’s reply mentioned wanting “to protect the integrity of our elections” and pivoted back to addressing Russian meddling, in no small part because she’s smart enough to know not to go down this road.
For Democrats, the term “voter suppression” is code for voter ID laws — the simple practice of requiring a person to show identification before they cast a vote in an election. And for years now the left has cried that Republicans are intentionally disenfranchising minorities by requiring ID to cast a ballot.
Right on the ACLU’s website it says, “Voting rights are under attack nationwide as states pass voter suppression laws. Since 2008, states across the country have passed measures to make it harder for Americans — particularly black people, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities — to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot.” It further stated that, “those measures include voter ID laws.”
The only problem is that the data shows the exact opposite and liberal activists and politicians turn a blind eye to research that highlights this fact.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Crawford v. Marion County Election Board decision ruled that on its face Indiana’s photo-ID law did not pose an unconstitutional burden on voters,” said David Muhlhausen, a Senior Policy Analyst for The Heritage Foundation, testifying on the constitutionality of voter ID laws before the Committee on Elections, Texas House of Representatives. He also stated, “Opponents of voter ID laws exaggerate the burden of obtaining the appropriate identification” and “new studies indicate that voter ID laws do not suppress voter turnout.”
Plenty of other research corroborates these positions. Voter ID laws preceded Barack Obama’s 2008 election, and in places like Georgia and Indiana minority turnout increased after the laws were passed.
“It so happens that black voter turnout surpassed white turnout for the first time on record in 2012, even while more and more stated were implementing these supposedly racist voter ID laws,” said Jason Riley in his book Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed. Riley cited the US Census Bureau, stating that blacks were the only race or ethnic group to show a significant increase in voting between 2008 and 2012. The obvious question would be whether or not this was related to having a black candidate for president. But, the Census Bureau stated that the trend predated the Obama presidency, starting as far back as 1996.
“Black voter turnout in 2012 surpassed white turnout by statistically significant margins in Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas, as well as in states with the strictest voter ID laws, such as Tennessee, Georgia, and Indiana,” Riley wrote. “Democrats claim (voter ID) laws deny blacks the franchise” but the evidence does not support it.
Aside from the issues of constitutionality and turnout, a majority of the public (including blacks) consistently support the idea of checking ID before voting. A Pew Research study from 2012 showed that 77 percent of Americans actually favor Photo ID Voting requirements. That number also hadn’t changed much over a span of six years.
The Weekly Standard reported on a Gallup poll in 2016 showing that “77 percent of American Hispanics and Blacks support voter ID laws.” The real problem with these numbers is that they surface an elitist ethos of the left, which suggests that — polls be damned — the politicians know what’s best for the people, rather than the people themselves.
Fortunately, numbers don’t lie and the conclusion of The Heritage Foundation still stands: “There is little evidence to suggest that (voter ID) laws disenfranchise voters. Second, voter ID laws are a common sense policy to help ensure the integrity of elections.”
M. Adrian Norman is the founder of the political and current events website www.rightofcenterblog.com. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism and public relations. You can reach him daily on Twitter: @madriannorman.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.