It’s a pity that Donna Brazile’s tenure as interim Democratic National Committee chairman will last a mere three weeks. During her short tenure, she’s taken advantage of an opportunity to highlight issues that matter to African-American voters.
Last week Brazile hosted a conference call with reporters to discuss the varied ways the Republican 2012 budget proposal would hurt Blacks if passed. This week, she issued a statement directing attention to an editorial that appeared in the New York Times on Wednesday about GOP threats to voting rights.
“Less than a year before the 2012 presidential voting begins, Republican legislatures and governors across the country are rewriting voting laws to make it much harder for the young, the poor and African-Americans—groups that typically vote Democratic—to cast a ballot,” the editorial reads.
It points to a Brennan Center for Justice survey that found that 21 million people don’t have a current photo ID, including 25 percent of African-American eligible voters, and says that “Republicans are imposing requirements that they know many will be unable to meet.” According to the editorial, eight states currently have photo ID laws and more than 30 others are “joining the bandwagon of disenfranchisement.”
“Indeed, the photo identification laws that Republicans are pushing across the country are most likely to disenfranchise young Americans, poor Americans and minorities—individuals who are least likely to have government identification or to be able to afford to get it,” Brazile said in her statement. “It’s obvious that Republicans are pursuing these laws not to protect against nearly nonexistent voter fraud, but instead to increase their own chances of victory on election day. Republican efforts to secure party victories at the expense of Americans’ basic democratic rights are unconscionable, and they should be condemned by right-thinking Americans of both parties.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (D-Florida), who has been named the DNC’s new chair, is probably an equal advocate for protecting voting rights, but with her responsibilities as a congresswoman and the upcoming debate on the budget that also seeks to adversely affect minority and low-income voters, will she have the time to spread such vital messages?