Black Activists Criticize Jesse Jackson on Voting Rights
Controversial Reverend Attacks Election Day Photo ID Requirements as Racist Conspiracy
Washington, D.C. - Spokesmen for the Project 21 black leadership network are critical of the Reverend Jesse Jackson's call for federal intervention against state-level efforts to protect voting integrity, noting that the radical reverend's agenda both belittles blacks and essentially would set them apart for special consideration.
"Demanding that all voters — not just blacks — present photo ID cards at the polls is no more 'a radical rollback of our civil and voting rights,' as Jackson put it, than it is an assault on the right of free movement when federal authorities demand that blacks — like all Americans — show photo ID cards before boarding passenger jets," said Project 21 spokesman Deroy Murdock. "This sensible and vital step towards combating the mounting problem of vote fraud is no more a racist plot than are the federal rules that require blacks — like all Americans — to show photo ID before purchasing anti-cold medications containing pseudoephedrine. Bankers who ask blacks — like all Americans — to show photo ID before cashing checks are not prejudiced, nor are public officials who are trying to keep unqualified, and even dead people, from voting single or even multiple ballots that they have no right to cast."
During the reverend's June 18 remarks to his annual Rainbow PUSH Coalition conference in Chicago, Jackson said that he wanted the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene and reverse laws that 27 states have adopted to require that some form of photo identification be presented at polling places in order to vote. Jackson called these laws, many of which were passed after recent examples of vote fraud emerged nationwide, "a radical rollback of our civil and voting rights."
In the overwhelming number of states with photo identification laws, a wide range of identifications are often accepted — including workplace IDs and hunting licenses — and those without acceptable identification can often vote after signing affidavits asserting their identities or be issued provisional ballots. "Does Jackson think that all photographs still come in black and white? Does he not know that color photos no longer limit everything and everyone to being either black or white? A photo is a photo. And we show photo ID cards for many things. So why not also use them to limit the privilege of casting ballots only to those Americans who are qualified to do so — and only to cast one ballot each?" asked Project 21 spokesman Oscar Murdock. "Jackson is thoroughly insulting to blacks and to any other group about whom he whimpers. Why does he consider those he once again is trying to lead as so lowly that they cannot obtain photo ID cards to exercise the non-racial act of electing their government?"
Project 21 spokesmen Oscar and Deroy Murdock are father and son, respectively.
"How pathetic does Reverend Jackson think black Americans are?" asked Project 21 spokesman Deroy Murdock. "Nearly all of us already carry photo ID. Those of us who have no such cards should get them for free from state and local governments as part of this growing movement toward cleaner elections. Furthermore, the notion that blacks will be so intimidated by photo ID requirements that we will run from the polls recalls the shameful stereotypes of bug-eyed blacks fleeing in fear from their own shadows. Such minstrel-type notions died in the 1930s and '40s. How sad that Reverend Jackson has resurrected them in his desperate bid to keep voting systems fast, loose and ready to benefit dodgy political machines across America."
In a commentary on the issue of voter identification published earlier this week in the Daily Caller, Project 21 spokesman Charles Butler wrote: "The problem with liberals is they want to be paternal and involve themselves in the manipulation of black Americans' right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If 25 percent of black Americans don't have valid ID, they obviously don't want one. The onus should be placed on them to obtain one." Responding to an assertion made by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz that voter ID laws are "literally" the same as segregationist Jim Crow laws, Butler countered that Wasserman Schultz, who was born in 1966, "lack[s] the credibility to discuss such an assertion much less throw it out there."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).