Last week, Hillary Clinton used a speech to the American Bar Association to rail against states that are requiring voters show a photo ID before they vote. She called ID requirements part of “the greatest hits of voter suppression,” but she was ignoring evidence that minority turnout has gone up in states with even the toughest ID laws, even in elections where Barack Obama isn’t on the ballot.
Civil-rights activists are often of two minds on voter ID. Last year, when the NAACP hosted Attorney General Eric Holder at its annual convention, one of the requirements to cover his speech was that “all media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license).” Meanwhile, NAACP president Ben Jealous introduced Holder by attacking ID laws.
“We must overwhelm the rising tide of voting suppression,” he said.
Jealous isn’t the first minority leader to say one thing while something else is done right in front of his eyes. North Dakota blooger Rob Port has a hilarious post on how several Native-American tribes require an ID to vote in tribal elections, while vehemently opposing the concept for other contests.
In Montana, the Chippewa Cree election board has gone so far as to invalidate a July tribal election for chairman because some people didn’t show the proper ID when they voted. But just last January, Native-American groups testified against a bill in the Montana legislature that would have toughened ID requirements for state elections.
“So, if you want to require an official ID card to vote in the election for the U.S. House or U.S. Senate in Montana — you’re a racist,” notes Montana talk radio host Aaron Flint. “But, when it comes to tribal elections on at least one American Indian reservation here in Montana, if you want to vote — you better have your ID.”
When it comes to voting-rights issues, there appear to be no boundaries to one side’s hypocrisy.