Sen. Rand Paul says he does not oppose the Republican Party's push for voter ID laws but doesn't think they should be over-emphasized.
The New York Times
published a headline on Friday saying, "Paul Diverges From His Party Over Voter ID," but Paul said Tuesday that he was taken out of context.
Appearing on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,"
Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said he was saying that Republicans shouldn't make voter ID a primary issue in this year's elections. The GOP should take note that many black voters fear that voter ID is actually an attempt to suppress minority voting, he said.
"We're not trying to do that. In fact, I'm trying to restore voting rights for minorities who I think have unfairly had their voting rights taken away," Paul said. He pointed to his own efforts
, along with those of the NAACP, to restore voting rights to minorities who have been convicted of non-violent crimes.
"There was a time in our past when the vote was suppressed," Paul said, noting that it was mostly Democrats who were guilty.
"But, for some reason, they think Republicans are part of this historical suppression of African-American votes. They think this is just another ploy," he said.
Republicans should acknowledge that perception in their attempt to reach more minority voters, he said.
Paul said he is keenly aware that voter fraud exists. His own father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, once lost an election by 200 votes in a contest in which 200,000 votes were cast, he said. About 3,000 of those votes were found to be illegal, he added.
"So, I'm very aware of voter fraud and don't think it's that unreasonable to show your driver's license."
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