Hans von Spakovsky / October 4, 2021

Debunking the Left’s Propaganda on Voting

From the way three liberal witnesses described America, you would think it wasn’t 2021 but 1878.

A Senate subcommittee last week held a hearing filled with the same old tiresome propaganda that the left has peddled for a decade to attack commonsense election reforms as a racially motivated plot to “suppress” votes.

Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

The subject of the hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution was HR 4, a bill dubbed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which the House passed in August on a straight party-line vote.

HR 4 would amend the Voting Rights Act to give partisan bureaucrats in the Justice Department the power to veto changes in state election laws, including those affecting voter registration, voter ID requirements, and maintenance of accurate registration lists.

Five witnesses testified at the hearing, three called by Democratic senators, including the subcommittee chairman, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and two called by Republican senators, including Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah.

The Democrats’ three witnesses were a professor from the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law and the heads of two liberal advocacy organizations. I was one of the witnesses called by the Republicans, as was Maureen Riordan, a 20-year veteran of the Justice Department who now works for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving election integrity.

From the way the three liberal witnesses described America, you would think it wasn’t 2021 but 1878, the year Reconstruction ended and Union troops withdrew from the former Confederate states.

They apparently live in a fantasyland where racial discrimination is widespread and prevents Americans, specifically minority voters, from being able to cast ballots in elections. According to these three speakers, voter ID requirements are part of this sinister plot even though such requirements are supported overwhelmingly by Americans, regardless of color or political affiliation.

Unfortunately, the Senate Democrats who attended the hearing supported these outrageous claims.

As I told Blumenthal’s subcommittee in my testimony:

The claim that there is a wave of voter suppression going on across the country that requires expansion of the [Voting Rights Act] is simply false. Efforts to enhance the integrity of the election process through reforms such as voter identification requirements and improvements in the accuracy of statewide voter registration lists are not voter suppression.

On voter ID, for example, the data is clear that such a requirement does not prevent any eligible individuals from voting and yet the proposed legislative reforms treat it as a suspect, discriminatory practice. A 2019 survey of 10 years of turnout data from all 50 states found that state voter ID laws ‘have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.’ Voter ID laws are in place in numerous states like Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas because courts agreed they are not discriminatory and do not represent a tangible burden on voters.

We have also seen evidence of this in the steady increases in registration and turnout in states that have implemented much-needed election reforms intended to improve access, integrity, and security, as well as in the steady decrease in the number of enforcement cases being brought by the Justice Department due to a decreasing number of violations of federal law. … [D]uring the entire eight years of the Obama administration, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed only four cases to enforce Section 2 of the VRA [Voting Rights Act] …

In … fact, the Obama administration filed far fewer Section 2 enforcement actions than the Bush administration, which filed 16 such cases. The record over the past two decades, and particularly in the last 10 years, provides no evidence to support the claim, which has been asserted many times, that there are widespread, systematic, unlawful voter suppression actions being taken against minority voters by state and local jurisdictions. …

This can also be seen in Census Bureau reports on registration and turnout. … The bureau’s report on the 2012 election showed that black Americans voted at a higher rate than whites nationally (66.2% vs. 64.1%). Other examples abound. According to the Census Bureau’s reports … for the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections, Mississippi … had a higher overall turnout of citizen voters than Connecticut, New York, and Delaware. The turnout, respectively, for Mississippi was 67.7%, 54.2%, and 70.3% in each election. The citizen turnout in the other three states according to the Census Bureau was less for each election year. …

Moreover, the turnout of black citizens … exceeded that of whites … in Mississippi in each of those elections. The same cannot be said for Connecticut, New York, and Delaware, in which the vote of whites exceeded that of blacks in some elections, while the reverse was true in others. Georgia … also had a higher overall percentage of turnout of its citizens according to the census reports than New York in the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections, and the turnout percentage of black citizens was also higher in Georgia in the 2018 (59.6%) and 2020 (64%) elections than in New York in both elections (51.3% and 62.7%).

The Census Bureau’s recent release of its 2020 election survey of voter turnout also clearly demonstrates that there has been no wave of ‘voter suppression’ keeping American voters from registering and voting or that requires amending the [Voting Rights Act] and expanding the power of the Justice Department.

Instead, the Census Bureau reports that the turnout in last year’s election was 66.8%—just short of the record turnout of 67.7% of voting-age citizens for the 1992 election. This was higher than the turnout in President Barack Obama’s first election, which was reported as 63.6% by the Census Bureau.

I wasn’t asked a single question by any of the Democrat senators who attended the hearing, perhaps because they had no way of countering the fact that states such as Georgia and Mississippi, which they and their three witnesses have criticized as racist havens of voting discrimination, actually have higher turnout in many elections than their own home states.

Facts are a stubborn thing.

The confrontation between Cruz and the liberal witnesses about voter ID was quite educational, as it reflects the witnesses’ refusal to recognize reality — that voter ID laws are not racist and are fully supported by the American public.

The Gould Law School professor claimed that Texas’ voter ID requirement is racist despite the fact that, as I told Cruz, federal judges held that Texas’ current law was nondiscriminatory and in compliance with the Voting Rights Act. Even the Obama Justice Department agreed.

The Democrats on the subcommittee totally ignored the testimony of Riordan, who described the partisan and unprofessional behavior that she personally witnessed by Justice Department lawyers who would be empowered by HR 4 to reject state election laws and regulations.

They obviously did not want to hear this and declined to ask her any questions, either.

As I concluded in my testimony:

It is not 1965 and there is no longer any justification for giving the federal government the ability to veto the election laws and regulations that citizens and their elected representatives choose to implement in their respective states.

[HR 4] is an extraordinary violation of state sovereignty, federalism, and the democratic process since it would take away the ability of the residents of each state and their elected representative to determine the rules under which their elections will be conducted.

It is a very dangerous bill and there is no justification for it whatsoever.


Republished from The Daily Signal.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.