One of the media’s recent race-baiting memes is to claim that voter ID laws are being proposed by Republicans to suppress minority votes.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is in lockstep with this falsehood, and claimed without producing any evidence on Tuesday’s Hardball that conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham was wrong when she recently said such laws were nondiscriminatory (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well yesterday we told you that General Colin Powell says Republican voter ID efforts designed to depress the minority voter will backfire. And now radio host Laura Ingraham, a conservative herself, agrees, kind of. Ingraham said on Fox that Republicans are failing to make a positive case for new voter ID laws which she insists are nondiscriminatory. As a result, she says. the Democrats' more emotional arguments are winning the day. But in fact, the effect of voter ID laws is discriminatory, Laura, and that's why Republicans are losing the argument.
So how are such laws discriminatory?
Despite claiming it’s a “fact,” Matthews didn’t produce one iota of evidence they are.
As such, what really are the facts?
In March 2012, the Heritage Foundation took a look at the impact of Georgia's voter ID law that went into effect in 2007.
Completely contrary to the liberal media meme, Heritage found that very few Georgians actually needed to get the state-issued ID to participate in elections. Through March 2012, a grand total of only 26,506 voter ID cards were issued.
It turned out in Georgia that most people did indeed have valid IDs, which most right-thinking Americans are fully aware of.
Also going against the liberal media grain was that in the two national elections following the law's implementation, rather than minority voting going down as Matthews and his ilk avow, minority turnout exploded.
African-Americans saw a 42 percent increase in voting in the 2008 election versus 2004. Of course, with Barack Obama running for president, that's not surprising.
But what is surprising is that Hispanics saw a 140 percent increase in the same period.
During the 2010 midterm elections when Obama wasn't running, African-American turnout in Georgia was up 44 percent from the 2006 elections. Hispanic turnout rose 67 percent.
So much for voter IDs being discriminatory, Mr. Matthews.
But don't expect he or any of his colleagues will share such statistics with their viewers or readers.
Tis far easier to arrogantly claim something is a fact without offering evidence to support it.
Folks such as Matthews sadly make a living doing it.
As for Ingraham, she commented via Twitter, "Adore Chris. And hope he convinces his bldg to stop requiring ID to enter."
When Georgia became one of the first states in the nation to demand a photo ID at the ballot box, both sides served up dire predictions. Opponents labeled it a Jim Crow-era tactic that would suppress the minority vote. Supporters insisted it was needed to combat fraud that imperiled the integrity of the elections process.
But both claims were overblown, according to a review of by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of statewide voting patterns in the five years since the law took effect.
Turnout among black and Hispanic voters increased from 2006 to 2010, dramatically outpacing population growth for those groups over the same period. [...]
“I think the rhetoric on both sides has been overstated,” said Edward Foley, executive director of an election law center at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.
“It hasn’t had the voter-suppressing effect that some people feared,” Foley said. Conversely, he said, rhetoric about voter fraud has largely proven to be a “scare tactic” with little basis in fact.
Still, the law has had real and measurable effect for some voters: Since November 2008, the ballots of 1,586 Georgians didn’t count because of the law. (They arrived at the polls without a photo ID, cast provisional ballots, and did not return later with the required ID.)