Former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough said Monday it was "outrageous" to suggest that voter photo identification laws are racist, claiming the issue has been covered in a "one-sided way" by the media
"If you believe that somebody should have a photo ID to prove they are who they are, that somehow this governor of North Carolina is racist, or everybody in the state of Texas is racist —it's outrageous," Scarborough said, referring to efforts in those two states to imposed tougher voter ID laws. "This has been covered in such a one-sided way."
"You read the New York Times, and you read these other media outlets that, again, make politicians in North Carolina and Texas sound racist for just saying, 'Hey, you're going to need a picture ID to prove you are who you are,'" the conservative Republican said on his MSNBC "Morning Joe" program.
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The MSNBC commentator was responding to Justice Department challenges in Texas, North Carolina, and other GOP-controlled states where new voter ID laws have been put in place that would require a state-issued photo ID and would also restrict voting hours and in some instances polling places.
Scarborough suggested that some of the reports on how the restrictions would impact black and minority voters unfairly are blown way out of proportion. He said he's seen news accounts that basically portray "white people with bull whips whipping black people if they come to vote."
He added that he sees nothing wrong with photo ID laws because they only ask for confirmation of someone's identity, just as if they were renting a video or getting a prescription filled.
"I'm reading all of these stories that talk about, basically, you're putting a white hood over the governor of North Carolina, putting a white hood over the entire Texas legislature," Scarborough continued, referencing some depictions of Republican lawmakers as if they were members of the Ku Klux Klan.
"Most Americans would think it's not racist to ask somebody to just have a picture ID," he added.
Scarborough's liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed with her conservative partner that the discussion of voter ID laws has not been as open and thoughtful as it could be.
"I think that this is a really healthy discussion that has been had out in the media in a completely one-sided way. And your side of it is a fair argument," she said, adding: "No one goes there because it's not PC."
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