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Bill Maher Says What the Media Won’t: Voter ID Laws Are Racist

Last updated on February 7th, 2013 at 03:09 pm

Bill Maher has the guts to say what the mainstream media won’t: Voter ID laws are nothing more than a racist attempt to suppress the votes of African-Americans.

Here is the video:

Maher said,

Now, I know it doesn’t seem like showing picture ID should be such a big deal, but it turns out one in ten Americans who used to be able to vote could not this time under these new laws. See Republicans love America and cherish it’s ideals, so they asked themselves what is it we have that many Democratic leaning inner city voters don’t have? I know. We have photo ID. Our drivers’ licenses and many of them don’t because they’re too poor to own a car. It reminds of the drug war where conservatives said let’s find something minorities do a lot, like smoke weed, and make it illegal, and one of the punishments is you lose your vote…

Listen, America has had a lot of tricky racist laws. It’s part of the adventure of living here. That’s what makes it dangerous and fun, like everyone being armed. It’s like a theme park at Halloween. Hey, if you don’t want to be chased with a chainsaw, move to Canada.

But what makes the voter ID law special is that they propose to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. We have empirical data proving that essentially no is showing up at the polls and impersonating a legally registered voter. Runaway slave laws were racist and wrong, but at least occasionally there was a runaway slave. But in person voter fraud is a crime that doesn’t happen. Since 2000, there have been ten cases of it. Ten. Out of 146 million voters. More people go into the voting booth and get hit by lightning while being attacked by sharks than commit this crime.


Because people tend to commit crimes to do things they want to. We’re Americans, we don’t want to vote. That’s not how the criminal mind works…But don’t ever accuse a Republican of racism. They just happened to come up with a legal technicality that if applied nationally would mean one in four black people can’t vote. It’s like if you wanted to suppress the white vote so you made a law that you couldn’t vote unless you’ve seen every Tyler Perry movie.

So I say fair is fair. If Republicans can make it harder for minorities to vote with their tricky ID laws, then we get to make it harder for teabaggers to vote by bringing back the literacy test. You can ask me for a picture ID, and I’ll ask you to count to twenty without taking off your shoes.

Maher also listed his three literacy test questions for tea partiers.

Very little of the discussion about voter ID laws in the mainstream media actually focuses on who these laws are targeting. The media has helped push the Republican argument by assuming that these laws target all people equally, when they are designed to target minorities, poor people, and Democratic voters.

An interesting unintended consequence is the possibility that some rural while older Republicans will also get caught up in the net of voter suppression, but for the GOP the disenfranchisement of millions of Democratic voters is worth the cost of a few thousand Republicans who will be turned away on Election Day.

Maher was totally correct. Voter ID laws are a form of voter suppression that is directly targeted at minority voters. If there is no voter fraud, then why would Republicans pass laws that would disenfranchise 25% of African-American voters if applied nationally? It is not a coincidence that Republican controlled state governments pushed through voter ID laws after African American turnout surged in the 2008 election. The voter ID laws were designed to be the Republican firewall against an Obama victory.

What the Republican Party never counted on was having a nominee who is so unpopular that even the harshest voter suppression techniques might not be enough to get him elected.

Because the media has billions of dollars in campaign ad revenue at stake, they play dumb. They turn a blind eye towards the fact that voter ID laws are part of the Republicans 2012 strategy.

The mainstream press acts like the act of disenfranchising any voter is a debatable topic. Bill Maher is one of the few people in the media with a platform to come out and say these voter ID laws are designed to prevent African-Americans from voting. Even though the mainstream media is going to keep denying it, at least comedians like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart are speaking the truth on voter ID.

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Jason Easley

Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements. Awards and  Professional Memberships Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association

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