MSNBC's Sharpton: People Favoring Voter IDs Want to 'Revoke the Voting Rights Act'

MSNBC's Al Sharpton lead a jobs rally in Washington, D.C., Saturday, and not surprisingly, he used the event to once again divide the nation along racial lines.

As he has disgracefully done on his PoliticsNation program on numerous occasions in recent weeks, Sharpton accused those favoring proper identification at the polls as wanting to "revoke the Voting Rights Act" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

AL SHARPTON: We come today because this country has ignored the plight of unemployed and people that are chronically unemployed. On Monday, in this, the capital, they had the audacity to turn down a jobs bill. So if you won’t get the jobs bill done in the suite, then we will get the jobs bill done in the street.

We cannot sit here with 14 million people unemployed while you get ready for an election. We cannot sit here with one percent of this country controlling 30 to 40 percent of the wealth and you tell us our problem is each other. Our problem is not with each other. You played the game of blacks against Latinos, Latinos against working class whites. It’s time for us to occupy Wall Street, occupy Washington, occupy Alabama. We come to take our country back to the people.

Martin Luther King is not a dead monument. Martin Luther King is a live testimony. They shot down the dreamer, but they didn’t shoot down the dream. Before he died, he had children, and his children is in Washington today. He taught us to stand up, and we come to stand up in his name.

To those that have tried to act like we had gone asleep and there’s no reason that we could not understand the confusion. When you look at the fact that people are talking about states’ rights again, they want to take away our vote in 34 states. Talking about voter ID. Talking about ending early registration, ending early voting. They want to honor Dr. King and revoke the Voting Rights Act at the same time. You can’t kill the Voting Rights Act and honor Dr. King. You can’t unemploy people and honor Dr. King. We will not let you make a mockery of what Dr. King stood for. Dr. King did not stand for the high and mighty. He stood for those of us that were cast out and cast back, and we are coming up front today to tell you just like Dr. King we can put the wind behind President Kennedy and President Johnson to get a Civil Rights Act and a Voting Rights Act. We come to put the wind behind the back of President Obama to get a jobs act for the people of this country.

Reporter said to me, "Reverend Al, is this about the election?" No, this is about our survival. When you talking about you gotta cut Medicare and cut Medicaid. When you talking about in order to balance a budget you created the deficit by giving tax cuts to the rich. You created the deficit by giving loopholes to the wealthy. You created the deficit by letting people outsource jobs. Now you want us to pay for the jobs that you sent abroad. You want us to pay for your loopholes. You want to go into our parents' Social Security. When you mess with our Social Security, this is not about Obama. This is about my Mama.

MSNBC must be so proud that one of its prime time hosts spent his Saturday stoking racial division this way.

What Sharpton failed to inform attendees was the desire for voters to present identification at the polls is nothing new. As the Washington Post reported in September 2005, it stemmed from the Florida recall debacle in 2000:

Warning that public confidence in the nation's election system is flagging, a commission headed by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James A. Baker III today will call for significant changes in how Americans vote, including photo IDs for all voters, verifiable paper trails for electronic voting machines and impartial administration of elections.

The report concludes that, despite changes required under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, far more must be done to restore integrity to an election system that suffers from sloppy management, treats voters differently not only from state to state but also within states, and that too often frustrates rather than encourages voters' efforts to participate in what is considered a basic American right.

The 2002 federal legislation grew out of the disputed election of 2000 and is not yet fully implemented. But the Carter-Baker commission said that even with some important changes in place, the 2004 election was marred by many of the same errors as the 2000 election. "Had the margin of victory for the [2004] presidential contest been narrower, the lengthy dispute that followed the 2000 election could have been repeated," the report states.

Disputes over the counting of provisional ballots, the accuracy of registration lists, long lines at some polling places, timely administration of absentee ballots and questions about the security of some electronic voting machines tarnished the 2004 elections.


This bears repeating: the 2005 Report of the Commision on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, recommended voter IDs six years ago.

Now that numerous states are trying to implement such a requirement, folks like Sharpton and others on his network continually claim there are racial motivations.

Reverend Sharpton - is Carter a racist, too?

For those that are hearing about this for the first time, the position of folks like Sharpton and his ilk is that since poor people don't have cars, such a requirement will disproportionately affect them and minorities.

Proponents rightly counter that in America today, you can't have a bank account, use a credit card, or cash a check without valid ID. People all over the country that don't have driver's licenses still have state issued pieces of identification to be able transact simple commerce such as buying food. 

What eludes people like Sharpton is that you can't get cash without going to a bank or a check cashing facility, both of which require ID. Most states also require proper identification to get food stamps.

As such, tying this to the Voting Rights Act is just another way for the Left to bring race into the debate.

You know, it's one thing for Sharpton to make such claims when on his television program that virtually nobody watches.

But for him to stand at the National Mall and further divide our country is deplorable, and should totally disqualify him as a television host on any so-called news network.

I guess this is just more evidence that despite calling itself such, MSNBC is anything but.

Related material: Sharpton Doesn't Know Higher Percentage of Republicans Than Democrats Voted for Civil Rights Act.

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