MSNBC Gives Platform to Former NAACP Chief to Blast Voter ID Laws As 'Racist In Intent'

All this week MSNBC is giving Politics Nation host Al Sharpton a platform to attack voter ID laws as a move to "Block the Vote" and keep black voters from the polls.

To help drive more viewers to tune in, the network is having daytime news anchors run segments critical of such voter ID laws. Today during the 11 a.m. Eastern hour of MSNBC programming, anchor Thomas Roberts interviewed former NAACP chairman Julian Bond, who insisted that voter ID laws were "racist in intent" [MP3 audio here; video available here]:

THOMAS ROBERTS: Sir, when it comes down to it, at their core, are these laws racist or is it more complicated, more political than just easing it off on that?

JULIAN BOND, NAACP chairman emeritus: It's more complicated than that. They are racist in intent and aimed at vulnerable people in our population.

Earlier in the interview, Roberts tossed a softball to Bond by asking the civil rights movement veteran, "What are the parallels between what happened back in the '60s and now 50 years later what we're seeing today?"

Bond compared today's GOP with the 1960s Southern Democrats, who were "allied against the right of black people to vote" and suggested that all the Southern Democrats who worked to block blacks from voting quickly migrated to the GOP, where they're still active to this day seeking to undermine the vote.

At no point did Roberts question Bond's conspiratorial view, nor did Roberts ask Bond what the NAACP was doing to help black voters who lack photo ID to obtain them before next November.


Roberts also left unmentioned that some states with voter ID requirements offer free voter ID cards, including Deep South states like Georgia and South Carolina. In November, voters in Mississippi approved a constitutional amendment that would require photo IDs to vote but ensure that "any voter lacking government issued photo identification may obtain photo identification without charge from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety."

What's more, as a review of the state voter ID laws at the National Conference of State Legislatures website shows, some states allows voters without ID to vote provided they sign an affidavit affirming under penalty of perjury that they are the person they claim to be. What's more most states allow provisional balloting such that no one would be turned away from the polls by election officials for lack of a photo ID.

After thanking Bond at the end of the segment, Roberts issued the obligatory plug for his colleague Sharpton:

And be sure to watch our special series, "Block the Vote," an investigation of new voting laws around this country. It's airing all this week on Politics Nation with Rev. Al Sharpton, 6 p.m. Eastern, right here only on MSNBC.

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