If you’ve been following the debate over restrictive voter ID laws, the fact that there aren’t many instances of voter fraud out there (especially of the type that could be prevented by voter ID laws) isn’t news. What’s interesting is who’s saying it.
“You constantly hear about voter fraud… but you don’t see huge amounts of vote fraud out there,” Attorney General Eric Holder told the Washington Post.The Attorney General made similar comments during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.
“I was a prosecutor in the Public Integrity Section and I actually investigated and prosecuted voter fraud in cases when I was a young prosecutor, and I was concerned that some of these changes go far beyond that which exists in terms of voter fraud,” Holder said.
The Attorney General’s comments about the lack of widespread voter fraud are in line with the Bush administration’s inability to find any widespread effort to steal federal elections over a five year period.
Holder’s comments came ahead of his scheduled speech at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Libary and Museum in Texas on Tuesday night, where he’ll be addressing “the importance of ensuring equal access to the ballot box and strengthening America’s long tradition of expanding the franchise.”
Liberal groups are putting pressure on the Justice Department to do more to stop the implementation of voter ID laws, though it would be difficult for federal officials to do anything in the states that aren’t covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act until after the 2012 election.
DOJ is corresponding with two states, Texas and South Carolina, that are covered by Section 5. DOJ would have had to make a decision on whether Texas’ voter ID law was discriminatory by Dec. 5, but the state didn’t provide the information they requested. They’ll have 60 days from when Texas provides the requested data. DOJ is supposed to get back to South Carolina by the end of the month.
The League of Women Voters of the United States on Monday called on Holder to “re-commit the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to protecting citizen voting rights in response to the numerous new voter suppression laws sweeping the country.”
“DOJ’s record over the last three years has been mixed on voting rights enforcement,” LWV President Elisabeth MacNamara said in a statement. “We applaud DOJ’s objections to the unfair Texas redistricting plan passed by the legislature and call on the Department to enforce the NVRA with the same vigor.”