If You Liked Jim Crow

A team of Justice Department lawyers and analysts who reviewed a Georgia voter-identification law recommended rejecting it because it was likely to discriminate against black voters, but they were overruled the next day by higher-ranking officials at Justice, according to department documents.

The Justice Department has characterized the “pre-clearance” of the controversial Georgia voter-identification program as a joint decision by career and political appointees in the Civil Rights Division. Republican proponents in Georgia have cited federal approval of the program as evidence that it would not discriminate against African Americans and other minorities.

But an Aug. 25 staff memo obtained by The Washington Post recommended blocking the program because Georgia failed to show that the measure would not dilute the votes of minority residents, as required under the Voting Rights Act.

The memo, endorsed by four of the team’s five members, also said the state had provided flawed and incomplete data. The team found significant evidence that the plan would be “retrogressive,” meaning that it would reduce blacks’ access to the polls.

A day later, on Aug. 26, the chief of the department’s voting rights section, John Tanner, told Georgia officials that the program could go forward. “The Attorney General does not interpose any objection to the specified changes,” he said in a letter to them.


Someone explain how requiring photo ID for voters is racist?

Well, if you don’t have a car, you probably don’t have a driver’s license. And the photo ID costs $20.

The Voting Rights Act puts the legal burden on Georgia to show that proposed election-related changes would not be retrogressive. According to the Aug. 25 memo from the Justice review team, Georgia lawmakers and state officials made little effort to research the possible racial impact of the proposed program.

A key area of disagreement between the staff and their supervisors appears to be the reliability of data provided by the Georgia Department of Driver Services and other state agencies.

The staff memo noted that the records were riddled with errors, including the unexpired licenses of dead people, and were “of a quality far below what we are accustomed to using in the Voting Section.” And other sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, showed that Georgia blacks were much less likely than whites to own vehicles and also less likely to have photo IDs, the memo said.

“While no single piece of data confirms that blacks will [be] disparately impacted compared to whites, the totality of the evidence points to that conclusion,” the memo said. It added later: “The state has failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the change is not retrogressive.”

On the next page if you can’t be bothered to click through. I’m not sure racism really has a whole lot to do with this but it does sound very much like politics are playing a role. And if cutting out people, for political non-racist motives, primarily effects one racial group…maybe there is something racist, if not white-sheet bigoted, about it.

State Rep. Tyrone L. Brooks Sr., a Democrat and president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, said he was not surprised by the Justice Department’s position in the case.

“Some of my colleagues told me early on that, because of politics in the Bush administration, no matter what the staff recommendation was, this would be approved by the attorney general,” Brooks said. “It’s disappointing that the staff recommendation was not accepted, because that has been the norm since 1965.”

Poor people in ghettos are less likely to have driver’s licenses – and also be able to spend the $10 to get the standard ID.

Now, if the law has said “come in and get an ID card for free”, then it wouldn’t sound like a poll tax.

Poor people in ghettos are less likely to have driver’s licenses – and also be able to spend the $10 to get the standard ID.

Now, if the law has said “come in and get an ID card for free”, then it wouldn’t sound like a poll tax.[/quote]Good point, the IDs could definitely be free.

You missed the best


[quote=Atlanta Journal Constitution]The chief sponsor of Georgia’s voter identification law told the Justice Department that if black people in her district “are not paid to vote, they don’t go to the polls,” and that if fewer blacks vote as a result of the new law, it is only because it would end such voting fraud.

According to the memo, Burmeister told the Justice Department that she was “aware of vote-buying in certain precincts” and detailed one episode in which she said former Augusta Mayor Ed McIntyre offered to put her name on a card and then round up black voters and “pay them to vote for the candidates on the card in exchange for $2,000.” McIntyre, who died last year, was convicted in 1984 in connection with extortion.

The memo, leaked to The Washington Post, went on to state: “Rep. Burmeister said that if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. She said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.”

So you see, there’s a perfectly good reason for this new law :shock:

Poor people in ghettos are less likely to have driver’s licenses – and also be able to spend the $10 to get the standard ID.

Well that, and the fact that you don’t set up the palces where you go to get them near black neighborhoods.