Robert Brown,the Senate Minority Leader, is asking the federal government to block Georgia’s Voter ID law.
State Sen. Robert Brown is urging the U.S. Justice Department not to approve a new law that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls.
In a letter to a top federal official, Brown, D-Macon, said the law “would transform Georgia’s election laws into the most restrictive in the nation,” and place undue burdens on elderly, poor and black citizens.
“My objections to voter identification provisions are grounded in decades of history and legal precedent, as well as striking contemporary evidence,” Brown wrote in the letter addressed to R. Alexander Acosta, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department.
The trouble for Brown is that he is wrong. Louisiana has an equally, if not more restrictive VoterID bill. Also, the bill does not create a poll tax. Brown, who I consider a notorious race baiter, enjoys throwing the race card at Republicans. It seems to me that were Brown to have his way, we’ll see the Georgia Democrats return to their race rhetoric of the past going so far as to say Republicans want to burn down black families’ homes and put them back in chains.
Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, sponsored that portion of the bill. He said it’s a needed antidote to voter fraud, and he said Brown and others who object to the bill are falsely characterizing it.
“I continue to be amazed at the amount of misinformation that is being promulgated about this bill,” Staton said. “I’m just shocked at how this is being politicized. I think my Democratic colleagues are using this as a means to, frankly, stir up their base.”
He pointed out that the bill requires the state to issue free ID cards to voters who need them.
But Brown said many rural voters must travel across county lines to get a card, because there are only 50 state offices to issue identification cards for Georgia’s 159 counties.
It seems to me that Brown is admitting or suggesting that lots of Georgia voters break the law. If it is such a burden to get a Driver’s License, does it mean that many Georgia voters who drive do not actually have a driver’s license? Also, several studies have shown that the rhetoric Brown is using is vastly overstated and that, in fact, there are more people registered to vote with drivers licenses than people who are not registered to vote who have drivers licenses.
Most likely, pretty much everyone who votes does have identification.
In fact, this is an issue that can help Republicans, if used in the right way. We all now have to have identification to get into a lot of federal buildings. So, why should it be easier to vote — a right we certainly don’t want abused.
Brown’s notion is silly and outdated. His rhetoric is racial prejudice and outmoded.
Full Disclosure: I helped write one of the first drafts of the Voter ID bill.
[UPDATE] As Mike Krempasky points out, the person to whom Brown wrote no longer works at the DOJ and hasn’t for a while. Bawhahaha.