President Barack Obama unleashed on states that require voters to show ID, calling them deceptive attempts to disenfranchise people over a problem — voter fraud — that is "not happening."
“Sadly, too many states are making it harder to vote and instituting voter ID laws that on the surface sound good,” Obama said at a White House event Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. “If you poll the average American they’ll say yeah, I can show an ID. But in practice, it turns out that’s not always easy to do.”
Obama is calling on Congress to pass an updated version of the Voting Rights Act after the 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down key parts of the law that had required states with a history of discrimination against blacks to get pre-clearance before enacting new voting regulations.
“There are almost no instances of people going to vote in somebody else’s name,” Obama said. “It turns out it’s just not a common crime. You know, folks might think about shoplifting, but I am certain, because we’ve actually looked at the data on this, that almost nobody wakes up saying I’m going to go vote in somebody else’s name. It’s not happening.”
“The only reason for this, despite the reasonableness of how it sounds is to make it harder for folks to vote,” the president continued.
Obama further criticized states for rolling back early voting and gave a dire warning about the possible rolling back of progress made since the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“If those practices, those trends, those tendencies are allowed to continue unanswered, then overtime, hard won battles of 50 years ago erode, and our democracy erodes,” Obama said.
He later added, “In the United States of America, we should have no patience, no tolerance for laws aimed at disenfranchising our fellow citizens.”