Obama administration officials praised the fortitude of the 7 million Afghanistan voters who risked their safety this past weekend to cast their ballots in the troubled country. What the administration hasn't commented on is that many of those voters also reportedly had to show photo ID at the polling places.
The administration's Justice Department has sued numerous states throughout the country for requiring photo identification at the polls. But video footage of Afghans going to vote clearly shows them proudly displaying photo IDs.
Former Obama White House adviser David Axelrod on Sunday celebrated Afghanistan's achievement.
An editorial in Investor's Business Daily shot back: “Axelrod may not have noticed, but millions of Afghans also defied the threat of death when they lined up earlier to obtain the same photo voter IDs they could carry as they voted in an election that will produce the first peaceful transition of power in that beleaguered nation's history. Afghans proudly showed their photo voter IDs, just as President Obama did when he voted early in Chicago in the 2012 election.”
“If people in some countries, as Axelrod notes, will risk death to vote, it is hard to see the intimidation in requiring people who vote to prove they are who they say they are — especially when voting results in America show that minority voters turned out in greater numbers in states that adopted voter ID requirements,” the newspaper continued.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld photo ID laws for voters in a 6-3 ruling in 2008, with liberal Justice John Paul Stevens joining his more conservative colleagues in the majority ruling.
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the National Urban League annual conference, Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Philadelphia. Holder announced Thursday the Justice Department is opening a new front in the battle for voting rights in response to a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a major setback to voter protections. Matt Rourke/AP
Since that time, a total of 34 states have enacted some type of voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though not all are photo ID, for the purpose of preventing potential voter fraud. Opponents of the ID laws argue it impedes voting. Last year, the Justice Department sued Texas and North Carolina over the ID laws, and Attorney General Eric Holder has threatened to sue other states with voter ID laws.
White House press secretary Jay Carney considered the Afghan election a success when speaking about it Monday.
“We commend the millions of Afghan men and women who went to the polls on April 5 and the campaign period over the past two months was full of open and responsible debate among the candidates and the Afghan people turned out in force to choose the direction of their country,” Carney said. “And what’s important about this process is that it was and continues to be Afghan-owned. The Afghan people secured this election, they ran this election, and most importantly, they voted in this election. It’s an important milestone.”
The blog of former Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida, a proponent of voter ID laws, used the occasion to mock the Obama administration's opposition.
"Talk about voter suppression! Voters in Afghanistan have had to dodge drive-by shootings and suicide bombings, but there’s not a word about the 'indignity' of carrying a photo I.D. to the polling place," said a post written by editor-in-chief Michele Hickford. "When liberals in this country talk about 'voter suppression' they really mean 'fraudulent voter suppression' — yes, requiring a photo I.D. will suppress fraudulent votes. If you don’t agree with me, come on down to Florida and we’ll chat about it. But first, try getting on the plane without your repressive photo IDs."
(H/T: Investor's Business Daily)