In a Sept. 29 interview with talk radio host Micheal Smerconish, President Obama indicated that he is encouraging his Justice Department officials to potentially challenge Voter ID laws.
SMERCONISH: Are the goal posts being moved on you in 2012? In my native Pennsylvania there’s a move afoot that would change the way in which electoral votes are apportioned. You picked up 21 in ’08, you’d of only had a net gain of one if this new rule, this new system were to come into effect. I look at that, and the requirement of photo IDs in some states, and the reduction of advanced voting and I wonder what’s going on out there on a grand level. What’s your level of concern?
OBAMA: With respect to Pennsylvania the people of Pennsylvania will ultimately decide how they want to allocate their electoral votes, and I’ll leave it up to them. I will say that my big priority is making sure that as many people are participating in our democracy as possible. Some of these moves in some of the other states that we’ve seen—trying to make it tougher to vote, restricting ballot access, making it hard on seniors, making it hard on young people. I think that’s a bit mistake and I have made sure that our Justice Department’s taken a look at what’s being done across the country to ensure that people aren’t being denied access to the franchise.
Voter ID laws have recently passed in Texas, South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, and even deep-blue Rhode Island. Despite consistent polling showing that North Carolina voters support Voter ID, Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed HB 351, the “Restore Confidence in Government Act” at the end of the General Assembly’s long session this year. It appears President Obama agrees with Perdue’s reasoning that Voter ID would limit voter turnout, despite evidence to the contrary.