Vice President Kamala Harris was branded as "out of touch" after she made inflammatory remarks while contriving a new reason as to why she opposes voter ID laws — rural Americans don't have access to photocopiers. Harris suffered major backlash for her comments about rural Americans, which some saw as dismissive and contemptuous.
In a BET interview, Harris claimed that voter ID laws would "make it almost impossible" to vote.
"It's about using the bully pulpit to help people see what's happening in the midst of all the daily issues that they have," Harris said. "You know, we're not in an election year. You know, we tend to rally when we know the election is about to happen. But right now, we need to start rallying, because these laws are being passed right now that will make it almost impossible, at least very difficult, for you to vote."
Interviewer Soledad O'Brien asked Harris, "People are talking about potential compromises. Is agreeing to voter ID one of those compromises that you'd support?"
"I don't think that we should underestimate what that could mean," Harris replied. "Because in some people's mind, that means, well, you're going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove that you are who you are."
"Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don't — there's no Kinko's, there's no OfficeMax near them," the vice president said, citing two retail chains that offered photocopy services. Kinkos was purchased by FedEx for $2.2 billion in 2003, and the last Kinkos stores were shuttered in 2008.
"People have to understand that when we're talking about voter ID laws, be clear about who you have in mind and what would be required of them to prove who they are," Harris continued. "Of course, people have to prove who they are, but not in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to prove who they are."
Many people took offense to Harris' remarks that stereotyped rural Americans, while others mocked the vice president for being so out of touch with rural America.
- Beth Baumann: "Um, hi. Rural American here. We can photocopy & scan birth certificates, just like what we do when we apply for new SS cards, fill out info for DMV & the IRS. And *gasp* we have electricity AND running water too!"
- Kimberly Morin: "Harris thinks people in 'rural communities' can't make photocopies..... pretty sure she's never been to a rural community."
- Samuel Williams: "This ridiculous I grew up in a rural community. That was in the 1970s and early 1980s it was really easy to get an ID. Most of us had a DL at 16 it was a necessity when you lived 7 to 10 miles out of town."
- Chris Barron: "Hi, I live on top of a mountain on the WV/VA border and I can photocopy my ID. I mean I do it while moonshining White Lightning while dueling banjos play in the background but I can still do it."
- Helen Raleigh: "I bet you she has never even visited rural America. Does she know farmers use drones to analyze soil samples and optimize irrigation? Not horse and buggy operations. So out of touch."
- Stephen L. Miller: "Someone needs to ask Kamala Harris what she thinks automated farming is. She has it in her head that everything between San Francisco and Chicago is The Grapes of Wrath."
- Bryan Dean Wright: "Rural American here. We built this country. We can manage to photocopy our IDs."
- Tony Shaffer: "I know @vp you are right! Hell, people in some US rural communities still travel by donkey and only have three teeth because there's no dentists & the telegraph is still years away from allowing for Morris code communication...let alone a home printer and scanner."
- Kerry Picket: "Has she heard of cameras on people's cell phones? Residents in rural communities ACTUALLY have those too."
- Sean Parnell: "'Of course people have to prove who they are. But not in ways that make it impossible to prove who they are.' Uhh wut….? No one is buying this ridiculous argument against Voter ID. The vast majority of Americans support it. Let's get it done."
- Steve Guest: "Translation: In this instance, Kamala Harris thinks 60 million Americans are dumb."
In February, President Joe Biden made a similar remark by stereotyping and discounting the technological abilities of minorities. Biden said blacks and Latinos don't know how to use the internet.
"A lot of people don't know how to register," Biden said during a CNN town hall. "Not everybody in the community, in the Hispanic and the African-American community, particularly in rural areas that are distant and, or inner-city districts know how to use, know how to get online to determine how to get in line for that COVID vaccination at the Walgreens."