Just a day after announcing his resignation as Attorney General, Eric Holder told the Congressional Black Caucus that voter ID laws are an answer to a problem that "doesn't exist," implying that he does not believe voter fraud is a problem.
Many Republican states have reported voter fraud, and have imposed voter ID laws in part to ensure that illegal immigrants aren't able to vote. But Holder indicated Friday that he believes those claims are exaggerated, and have led to laws at the state level that can end up disenfranchising voters.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder reiterated his criticism of state voter ID laws on Friday, just a day after announcing his resignation. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
"My colleagues and I are acting aggressively to ensure that every American… can exercise his or her right to participate in the democratic process, unencumbered by unnecessary restrictions that discourage and discriminate or that disenfranchise in the name of a problem that doesn't exist," Holder said.
Holder then outlined all the steps the Justice Department is taking to fight various voter ID laws around the country. That includes a voter ID law in Texas that he said could "disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of eligible voters who lack the requisite identification."
He said Justice is also fighting laws in Ohio, Wisconsin and North Carolina that he said hinder people from voting.
Holder also had harsh criticism for the Supreme Court's 2013 decision Shelby County vs. Holder, which Democrats say gutted a key piece of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Holder called that ruling a "deeply misguided, flawed and unwise decision," and voted that federal vote monitors would still be dispatched to ensure elections are run fairly across the country this November.
"We're not stopping because of Shelby County. Our people will be in the field," he said.
The Supreme Court struck down language in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that describes which states and counties are required to seek federal approval for changes to their voting rules. The states and counties listed under the law reflect the realities of Civil Rights era America, and the Supreme Court essentially said they need to be updated to reflect improvements to those voting systems over the years.
Democrats have said that decision essentially gutted the Voting rights Act, and immediately called on efforts to update federal clearance rules through legislation. But while a bipartisan bill has been introduced, it has not advanced.