07 Jul 2011 Black Activists “Deeply Disappointed” in President Clinton’s “Disingenuous” Racial Attack on Ballot Security Measures
Protecting Against Vote Suppression Not Akin to Segregation
Washington, D.C. – Black activists with the Project 21 leadership network are disappointed that former president Bill Clinton chose to become the latest liberal luminary to sully his credibility by likening state-level voter protection rules to segregationist Jim Crow laws of the past.
“It’s hard not to ignore the deep historical ignorance in President Clinton comparing voter protection statutes to Jim Crow, and it leaves me deeply disappointed,” said Project 21 spokesman Jerome Hudson. “Clinton diminishes himself by engaging in this brand of gutter politics. It’s one thing to dispute a state’s legislative attempts to preserve voter integrity, but Clinton crossed the line in his crusade to paint lawmakers concerned about vote suppression through fraud as racists and segregationists. It’s despicable and deplorable.”
At a July 6 address to the left-wing group Campus Progress, President Clinton railed against some of the existing ballot security measures currently enforced in 30 states, alleging that they are meant to prevent young people and minorities from voting. Clinton said: “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the voter Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit a franchise that we see today.”
President Clinton’s comments follow a similar allegation made in June by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, that state rules meant to combat the suppression of legitimate votes through identity fraud at the polls are an effort “to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws.” After criticism from Project 21 and others, Wasserman Schultz later admitted that “Jim Crow was the wrong analogy to use.”
Nonetheless, President Clinton chose to use the same analogy to defame state ballot protection laws that most often accommodate provisional ballots and affidavit affirmations of identity for instances in which someone seeking to vote cannot provide any of the many accepted forms of identification. Jim Crow laws, to the contrary, were purposefully meant to deprive blacks of any access to voting.
“It is unfortunate that a past President of the United States would stoop so low as to use the same tired talking points that the leader of his political party was already widely criticized for using and later retracted,” noted Project 21 spokesman Coby W. Dillard. “Liberals are reintroducing the sins of the past in a disingenuous appeal for political support. That those sins are all they have to turn to shows that their nationally-rejected agenda — raising taxes, forcing an unconstitutional healthcare mandate on Americans and driving energy prices higher to promote an environmental agenda supported by their benefactors — is lost.”
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).