Obama Calls Out GOP For Bullshit Voter ID Laws

Illustration for article titled Obama Calls Out GOP For Bullshit Voter ID Laws

At an event for the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, President Obama called out Republicans for working to restrict voter access and called for an amended Voting Rights Act to protect disenfranchised groups.

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“On the ground, there are still too many ways in which people are discouraged from voting,” he said. “State legislatures have instituted procedures and practices that, although on the surface may appear neutral, have the effect of discouraging people from voting, may have a disproportionate effect on certain kinds of folks voting. And, if in fact those practices, those trends, those tendencies, are allowed to continue unanswered, then over time, the hard-won battles of 50 years ago erode, and our democracy erodes... And that means that the decisions that are made in the corridors of power all across this country begin to reflect the interests of the few instead of the interests of the many.”

He specifically mentioned states like Texas and North Carolina that are attempting to reinforce photo ID laws to protect against voter fraud, which just isn’t really a thing.

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“It doesn’t actually address a real problem, because there are almost no instances of people going to vote in somebody else’s name,” Obama said. “It turns out it’s just not a common crime ... almost nobody wakes up and says, ‘I’m going to go vote in someone else’s name,’ it doesn’t happen. So the only reason to pass this law, despite the reasonableness of how it sounds, is to make it harder for folks to vote.”

To combat that, Obama encouraged Congress to pass an amended version of the Voting Rights Act that would protect citizens against these arbitrary restrictions.

Obama also encouraged black people and other disenfranchised groups to make an effort to vote, according to the Washington Post:

Obama also noted, however, that African Americans and others should exercise their voting rights in larger numbers. “This isn’t always a popular thing to say in front of progressive groups,” he said, but “far more people disenfranchise themselves than any law does by not participating, by not getting involved.”

Obama proposed making Sept. 22 National Voter Registration Day. “We’re going to try to get everybody to register to vote,” he said. “We’re probably not going to get everybody, but we’re going to try.”

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Seriously, though. It is very, very, very important we vote to avoid ending up with one of these clowns in office.


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

Image via Getty.

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DISCUSSION

Oregon, Washington and Colorado (most recently) have vote-by-mail and it’s fucking fabulous. I hope other states get on board with it. You get your ballot, have plenty of time to look at the issues and decide your vote, and either mail your ballot or drop it off at a polling center.

I do think that election day should be a national holiday and everyone should get mandatory paid time off to vote, but since that will never happen, vote by mail is the best system we have.

Fun fact: There was a case of voter fraud in Oregon. A county elections worker plead guilty to marking partially filled-out ballots for Republican candidates. Funny that.