Black Activists Criticize Eric Holder's Rhetoric at NAACP Conference
Nation's Top Cop Plays Racial Politics to Oppose Ballot Integrity Advocates
Washington, D.C. - Black activists with the Project 21 black leadership network are highly critical of Attorney General Eric Holder for pushing racial rhetoric and political divisiveness over the need to protect the voting process from identity theft and election fraud at the NAACP convention Tuesday.
During his speech at today's session of the NAACP's national convention in Houston, Holder, the nation's highest-ranking lawyer, escalated the Obama Administration's brazenly political attack on democratically-enacted, state-level ballot protection laws by calling the requirement of a government-issued ID to confirm one's identity at a polling place equivalent to a "poll tax."
Claiming it is too difficult for some people to obtain valid ID, Holder declared, "We call those poll taxes."
"If implementing voter ID laws truly represents a poll tax, why doesn't Holder come out and say they're unconstitutional and that they violate the 24th Amendment?," asked Project 21 spokesman Derryck Green.
Ratified in 1964, the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawed poll taxes in federal elections. It was extended to state elections by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966.
This apparently new anti-Voter ID strategy announced today by Holder comes on the second day of trial in the lawsuit that Texas has filed against the U.S. Department of Justice's effort to block enforcement of that state's new voter ID law. Holder pledged an "aggressive" fight against the Texas law.
Holder's actions regarding Texas are the subject of a National Center for Public Policy Research paper, "Justice Department Plays Fast and Loose with Facts and Constitution in Challenging Texas Voter ID Law," by Horace Cooper, a Project 21 member. In it, among other points, Cooper notes that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Voter ID as constitutional in 2008.
"Eric Holder claims that requiring a photo ID when casting a vote is equal to voter disfranchisement, especially to minorities. This is especially condescending to those very same people," added Project 21's Green. "The irony of his ideological position by our nation's top cop is that electoral fraud actually disfranchises those honest voters who play by the rules."
Commenting on Holder's additional declaration at the NAACP event that he "will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right," Green continued: "If this isn't the pot calling the kettle black! The entire process of suing states to prevent them from enforcing ballot protection laws to help prevent voter fraud is a political pretext at its very core. Why does Holder not want a photo ID requirement? He should be doing everything in his power to make sure that the votes that Americans cast are not undermined or silenced by fraud."
Suggesting the rhetoric is a cover for poor performance in other areas, Project 21 spokesman Kevin Martin said: "The rhetoric coming from the NAACP's annual conference is totally reprehensible and does not match the reality of the issue concerning voter ID laws. When Eric Holder compares a state's voter protection efforts to a poll tax, you know that the Obama Administration is in major trouble. With massive unemployment numbers, shrinking wealth and wages as well as a general sense of hopelessness for the future among all Americans -- and black Americans, in particular, it would seem that the liberal manipulators are falling back on racial scare tactics to rally their supporters."
Radical opposition to ballot protections was not restricted only to Attorney General Holder. NAACP CEO and President Ben Jealous said polling place identity fraud measures "encode discrimination into law" and, reaching back to the civil right era, the 39-year-old Jealous said these popular laws create a climate similar to "Selma and Montgomery times."
"These people seems to be living in a 1950s time warp, but they still can't seem to get the facts straight. They are distorting the issue when it comes to voter ID laws," said Project 21 spokesman Charles Butler. "By comparing the fight against ballot protection to the fight against Jim Crow laws, Mr. Holder and the Mr. Jealous are making a mockery of the civil rights movement that so many Americans embraced and gave blacks like me full citizenship. In many ways, they are worse that the KKK because they are actively trying to control blacks through scare tactics and fabrications."
Biographies and photos of Project 21 spokesmen are available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21Speakers.html.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for nearly two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).