WSJ: Bill Clinton Sounds Election Reform Warnings

Wednesday, 03 Aug 2011 02:21 PM

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When it comes to voter reform laws, former President Bill Clinton is warning that some of the changes hark back to Jim Crow.

He told a student group last month that “there has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today," The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial.

Clinton was referring to states like Kansas, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and “the notoriously Confederate state of Rhode Island” that have recently tightened voter laws.

“These states are trying to reduce the incidence of voter fraud, which if not epidemic is hardly unknown in America,” the paper said. “The liberal group Acorn's widespread voter-registration fraud in recent years drew national attention to the problem and criminal actions. The 2008 Minnesota Senatorial race, where a legal challenge over the validity of absentee ballots decided the outcome by 312 votes, was another warning sign. Kansas received 221 reports of voter fraud between 1997 and 2010, according to a recent op-ed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach.”

While the laws can’t fix every problem, they can prevent people from impersonating other voters, make it harder for a person to vote at multiple locations and block illegal aliens from voting. The laws have been repeatedly upheld in federal courts and polls show voters of every age, race and income consistently support these reforms, the Journal noted.

“None of that is deterring Democrats from using voter ID to drum up racial fears. Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz used the "Jim Crow" line earlier this year, adding ‘photo I.D. laws, we think, are very similar to a poll tax.’ Democratic Senators and House members have asked the Justice Department to take action.

“Look for this to be a consistent Democratic theme as the election approaches, amid party fears that declining real incomes will dampen enthusiasm about re-electing President Obama.”





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