President Obama played the race card when he said Friday that his new voting-rights commission will help to prevent state officials from engaging in "new tricks" that discourage minorities from voting.
"It's very important that we work together to make sure everybody gets a chance to vote, and we clear away a lot of this nonsense," Mr. Obama said in an interview with SiriusXM radio. He added that the country needs more election rules "to make sure that people aren't waiting in line for six, seven hours, that there aren't new tricks that discourage people from voting." Although Obama never specifically mentioned blacks, or minorities, critical listeners to the interview knew who America's first "black" president was talking about.
Further, although he did not single out Republicans by name, Mr. Obama's comments came after the two major parties sparred continually during last election cycle over new voting requirements instituted in a string of GOP-controlled states. Backers of the new laws say they were needed to prevent widespread polling fraud, and cited nearly a half-dozen individuals over the past ten years that attempted to vote without proper voter credentials. Critics said the new laws were a way to intimidate or curtail voting primarily by low-income and minority voters who tend disproportionately to back Democratic Party programs, policies, and candidates.
Mr. Obama told Sirius host Joe Madison that new regulations to protect minority voting rights would guard against the impact of a potential Supreme Court ruling to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The justices next week will hear oral arguments in an Alabama case in which Shelby County officials argue that they ought to be finally free of the law's requirements, which mandate that officials in certain jurisdictions seek "pre-clearance" from the federal government before enacting any new election laws. Stated Clem Kittleman of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office: "We never had problems with our minorities before, and so there's no dadgum reason to think we'd have a problem today."