JUNE 19, 2007
Top Democrats have threatened to block an election commission (FEC) nominee because they claim minorities were hurt by legislation he endorsed to combat voter fraud as a Justice Department attorney.
Leading the chorus of opposition is California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Rules Committee Chairwoman, who says it’s a “real problem” that the president’s Federal Election Commission nominee (Hans von Spakovsky) didn’t protect minority voters as a government attorney.
Von Spakovsky’s crime, in the eyes of Feinstein and co., was supporting legislation to eliminate rampant voter fraud in Georgia where he served as senior counsel in the Justice Department’s civil rights division. Struck down last year by a Jimmy Carter-appointed federal judge, the law simply required voters to provide an official government-issued identification at the polls to assure the identity of the person voting.
Triumphant civil rights groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) argued that requiring identification amounted to a poll tax that would prevent minorities and the poor from voting because they may not be able to afford the fee to obtain one. Georgia actually offers free photo identification cards for citizens without driver’s licenses.
Democrats and civil rights advocates claim that Spakovsky actually made it harder for Americans to vote during his tenure at the Department of Justice and therefore should not serve on the FEC. One group even accused him of doing everything in his power to minimize the vote, particularly of minorities and Democrats.
Georgia is not alone in its effort to eliminate election fraud, however. Many states require citizens to present a valid identification before voting and liberal judges across the nation have struck down recently passed voter ID laws in a number of states, including Missouri, Ohio and Arizona. The rulings mostly claim that requiring voters to present identification disenfranchises racial minorities.
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