March 30, 2005

Black lawmakers calling photo ID bill racist

A bill requiring voters to present state-issued photo ID as identification when voting was passed by the Georgia state Senate yesterday, despite the carping of black Senators who insisted the measure was racist.

The bill would reduce the types of ID permitted to be presented by voters when identifying themselves at a polling place from 17 to 6. It would eliminate such forms of identification as utility bills.

"This is spitting on the grave of Martin Luther King Jr.," said Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown (D-Macon), an African-American. He compared the photo ID requirement to Jim Crow laws that once institutionalized racial discrimination in the South.

Republicans argued the measure would help prevent voter fraud and protect the integrity of the ballot. The bill would reduce the number of acceptable forms of identification for voting from 17 documents, which now include utility bills and bank statements, to six forms of government-issued photo identification.

Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) said he could not forget those who "bled, sweated and died" for his right to vote and serve in elected office.

Some saw the measure as an ominous sign for race relations.

"I do believe that this bill has fractured this body," said Sen. Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta), who is black. "I do believe this bill is a disaster for race relations in the state of Georgia. I do believe this is the most aggressive bill and attack on the rights of minorities and African-Americans that I have seen in my tenure in the House and the Senate."

The measure now has to go back to the Georgia state House for approval of minor changes before going on to Governor Sonny Perdue for his signature. If signed into law, the measure would have to be reviewed by the US Justice Department in order to ensure that it does not place an undue burdon on minorities.

The black lawmakers in question have no answer when asked about the requirement to present a photo ID - like a drivers' license - when banking. They are obviously using this as a "guilt-based club" to attack others and get their way.

There is no coincidence that the black Democrats are also using this as a rallying cry and basis to claim that Republicans do not want to renew portions of the Voting Rights of 1965 when they come up for vote in 2007.

This is about scaring the voting public and painting the GOP as "evil racists." This is about keeping the status quo in order to better facilitate voter fraud. This is about liberal desperation.

Posted by mhking at March 30, 2005 10:13 AM

I guess it's racist to have to present a short list of IDs at the bank to cash a check, too. *shrug*

Posted by: Laurence Simon at March 30, 2005 11:06 AM

I don't understand the arguments by the Democrats. I don't know if it makes sense. We use I.D. cards for everything, why not for voting...

Posted by: Cynthia at March 30, 2005 06:18 PM
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