Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Republican: the party for people who don't like Black people:

Voter ID memo stirs tension | ajc.com: The chief sponsor of Georgia's voter identification law told the Justice Department that if black people in her district "are not paid to vote, they don't go to the polls," and that if fewer blacks vote as a result of the new law, it is only because it would end such voting fraud.

The newly released Justice Department memo... says that despite Republican assurances the law would not disenfranchise elderly, poor and black voters, Susan Laccetti Meyers, the staff adviser for the Georgia House of Representatives, told the Justice Department "the Legislature did not conduct any statistical analysis of the effect of the photo ID requirement on minority voters." It cites analyses showing that, in fact, the effects of the law — which will require Georgians seeking to vote to present a driver's license or an identification card for which they must pay — could fall disproportionately on blacks. It concludes that the state had failed to show the law would not weaken minority voting strength, and recommends that the attorney general's office formally object to it.

However, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in August approved the law.... Georgia Democrats... said the law is the most blatant evidence that Georgia's election laws should remain under federal scrutiny, as required by the 1965 Voting Rights Act, despite attempts by Georgia Republicans to free the state from federal oversight.... State Rep. Stan Watson (D-Decatur), chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, said reports that the politically appointed leadership of the Justice Department overruled its staff and approved the voter ID law "bears out that the law would hamper blacks, other people of color and the elderly in voting."....

The memo, leaked to The Washington Post, went on to state: "Rep. Burmeister said that if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. She said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls." Burmeister said Thursday that the memo's record of what she said "was more accurate than not," but added: "That sounds pretty harsh. I don't remember saying those exact words."...

The memo also states that in defending the Georgia law, Burmeister claimed the voter IDs would not be as difficult to obtain as critics claim because Gov. Sonny Perdue "had passed legislation to mandate a [state Department of Driver Services] office in every county and that individuals can obtain state IDs in Kroger grocery stores." "Neither statement is correct," the memo concludes.

Perdue spokeswoman Heather Hedrick said Thursday that memo's claims that the voter ID law would adversely affect minority voting doesn't change the governor's support for the measure....

Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do it now.

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