*Sigh* The Left is working overtime here at the end of the year to finish pushing our country into the ditch.
US Attorney General Eric Holder — who thought it was a great idea to hand over a bunch of automatic weapons to Mexican drug lords — says South Carolina cannot demand voters show ID before voting in that state:
The Obama administration entered the fierce national debate over voting rights, rejecting South Carolina’s new law requiring photo identification at the polls and saying it discriminated against minority voters.
Friday’s decision by the Justice Department could heighten political tensions over eight state voter ID statutes passed this year, which critics say could hurt turnout among minorities and others who helped elect President Obama in 2008. Conservatives and other supporters say the tighter laws are needed to combat voter fraud.
In its first decision on the laws, Justice’s Civil Rights Division said South Carolina’s statute is discriminatory because its registered minority voters are nearly 20 percent more likely than whites to lack a state-issued photo ID. Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, South Carolina is one of a number of states that are required to receive federal “pre-clearance” on voting changes to ensure that they don’t hurt minorities’ political power.
“The absolute number of minority citizens whose exercise of the franchise could be adversely affected by the proposed requirements runs into the tens of thousands,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said in a letter to South Carolina officials.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called the decision “outrageous” and said she plans to seek “every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process and our 10th Amendment rights.”
The law, passed in May and signed by Haley, requires voters to show one of five forms of photo identification. The state can now try to get the law approved by a federal court or seek reconsideration from Justice.
South Carolina cited the need to fight voter fraud in defending the measure. Whether election fraud exists to any significant degree and how extensive it may be is the subject of a divisive national debate. Some conservatives have long argued that fraud is a serious problem, but Perez said that South Carolina’s submission “did not include any evidence or instance” of fraud not already addressed by state laws.
The federal action — the first time the government has rejected a voter-identification law in nearly 20 years — signals an escalating national legal battle over the laws as the presidential campaign intensifies. The American Civil Liberties Union and another group recently filed a federal lawsuit contending that Wisconsin’s new voter-identification measure is unconstitutional.
Is this really about “discrimination,” or something else? A story this week out of North Carolina suggests leftists’ concerns are really rooted in something else:
A federal judge has upheld a section of the U.S. Voting Rights Act that Rep. Stephen LaRoque and some Kinston voters had challenged.
Kinston officials voted to switch the city’s elections from partisan to non-partisan, but the U.S. Justice Department refused to allow that change, saying it would adversely affect the rights of black voters. The Kinston City Council refused to challenge the Justice Department’s decision, so LaRoque, R-Lenoir, and others took up the banner.
They argued that Congress exceeded its authority in re-authorizing a section of the act five years ago and that amendments to the section violated constitutional guarantees of non-discrimination.
U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington, D.C., ruled Thursday that the section of the Voting Rights Act in question is valid.
Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, called the ruling “a stand for justice and equality.”
“Voting rights are under attack across the country,” Barber said in a statement. “Fourteen states have already passed voter suppression laws that limit access to the polls and disproportionately impact minorities, poor people, young people, students and the elderly. Minority voting power is under attack through redistricting plans that marginalize minority voters, packing them into a few segregated districts so their influence is muted.”
LaRoque said he plans to appeal the ruling.