Rand Paul sees no evidence of voter discrimination
August 15th, 2013
10:48 AM ET
11 months ago

Rand Paul sees no evidence of voter discrimination

(CNN) – As new voter ID laws take effect in states across the country – to the objections of civil rights leaders and Democrats – GOP Sen. Rand Paul says he doesn't see evidence African-Americans are facing obstacles casting ballots.

The Kentucky Republican's remarks came the same week a new measure was signed into law in North Carolina requiring voters present a valid government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Similar laws are being proposed in several other states after June's Supreme Court decision gutting the federal Voting Rights Act. That ruling effectively invalidated a key provision of the 1965 law that gives the federal government oversight of states and localities with a history of voter discrimination.

But Paul, speaking this week in Louisville, said those places previously covered by the federal law no longer showed any evidence of discriminating against minorities.

"The interesting thing about voting patterns now is in this last election African-Americans voted at a higher percentage than whites in almost every one of the states that were under the special provisions of the federal government," he said, according to WFPL radio. "So really, I don't think there is objective evidence that we're precluding African-Americans from voting any longer."

Opponents of voter ID laws include national civil rights organizations like the NAACP and ACLU, who say the laws place restrictions on voting that disproportionately affect minority voters, who are less likely to have a valid photo ID.

Supporters, however, say providing photo identification is a reasonable request to ensure voters are eligible.

"I don't see a problem with showing your driver's license to vote," Paul said this week. "I also think that some people are a little bit stuck in the past when they want to compare this. There was a time in the South when African-Americans were absolutely prohibited from voting by selective applications of bizarre and absurd literacy tests. And that was an abomination, that's why we needed the Voting Rights Act, but that's not showing your ID."

Paul, who is considering a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, made his remarks on voting rights the same week a potential Democratic rival decried the new laws. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a meeting of the American Bar Association, said the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act had opened the doors for widespread disenfranchisement for minorities.

"Not every obstacle is related to race, but anyone who says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in American elections must not be paying attention," Clinton said. "And despite the best efforts of many well-intentioned election officials, discrepancies and resources across precincts and polling stations still disproportionately affect African-American, Latino, and young voters."

A first-term senator, Paul was elected with strong support from the tea party. In recent months, he's spoken frequently of adopting a more welcoming stance in the Republican Party to African-American and Latino voters, who voted heavily for President Barack Obama in last year's election, according to exit polls.

He's dealt with race in the past, including this summer when it was discovered an aide and collaborator on his 2010 book had a past as a pro-Southern secessionist who used the name "Southern Avenger." The aide later resigned.

He faced questions during his 2010 Senate campaign about whether or not he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


Filed under: Rand Paul
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. rs

    No, no, in Mr. Paul's world closing polling places, ending early voting, and causing people to wait in 8-hour lines to vote (on a work day) won't impact voting at all.
    I don't know what is worse: the presumed delusionalism of the GOP; or the fact they think anyone believes their racist ploys aren't real.

    August 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. roro

    Further proof this man is stupid, as well as dangerous. Don't forget he's the one who believes any business owner should be allowed to decide just who he wishes to serve or sell to. We all know what that means.

    August 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Greg Smith

    The new laws being passed are more that just showing ID. They are changing the process of early voting, reducing the number of voting places, and other things that reduce the opportunity to vote and those things impact minorities and the poor more. People who can't take off work, people with limited transportation are all affected by these new rules.

    August 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Data Driven

    Rand Paul really needs to stop talking about Black people.

    He's very much in a hole on this topic, and what does one do when one is in a hole? One stops digging.

    Paul's views on this subject are not needed.

    August 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. ge

    he also knows there is no poverty in the usa because he has not seen any or spoke to any

    August 15, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. tom l.

    Red meat for the liberals who will say what their masters tell them despite any evidence demostrating what they are complaining about. North Carolina has 70% white population and 22% African American. 67% of early voters were white and 27% were African American in the 2012 election. Those numbers are very much inline.

    August 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. kirk

    He has stoked a fire that will inevitably bite the gop in their rear.he is right, the black and minorities turned out in record numbers, he failed to a dress why.theyvdont like being suppressed with these blatant hateful attempts to limit their influence in America.. congrads in advance Hillary. These fools better be able to do some major restricting or your oh so screwed.can't come soon enough.

    August 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. S.B. Stein

    Clearly he is not looking at these laws. Those that are here and not eligble to vote aren't likely to spend their time looking to vote. These law require people to spend time and money they don't have for a document that is making it harder to vote. Who are these people who have a hard time gettng the voter ID? For the large part, it is the poor (can't afford to take the time to do it), the elderly (don't always have the picture ID because they didn't need it when they had a driver's lience) and the young (don't have enough to get an ID). Many of these groups lean (not always) toward the Democratic party. I am wondering why there isn't an inclusion of the driver lience picture in the voting rolls when people vote. The two databases should be able to match up since the Motor-Voter law started.

    August 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. S.B. Stein

    I guess because he hasn't spent time with the poor (beneath him?) or the elderly (too old) he doesn't understand what this means to them.

    August 15, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Anonymous

    @rs

    If figures that the GOP supports Morsy and his Muslim brotherhood against the now obvious coup. The GOP is just like the Brotherhood wanting to establish a fundamentalist theocracy right here in America. Morsy is a "conservative" – just like the GOP. I suspect what we see here is a sort of projection. The GOP is right on that line of treasonous, anti-American behavior, and they don't wish to wind up like the Brotherhood now in Egypt.
    ---------–
    Correct me if I am wrong but didn't the US government (Led by a DEMOCRAT) celebrate the elections in Eygpt and didn't the (led by a DEMOCRAT) celebrate the democratically electred Morsy? Isn't the US government (lead by a DEMOCRAT) NOT calling this a coup?

    August 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. Wake up People!

    Well that settles it then. Case closed.

    Mr. "If I had been around during the Civil Rights Era, I would have voted against it" has spoken.

    This has to be the most idiotic article I've seen today. Of course he doesn't see any discrimination. This loser thinks he's going to ride this voter suppression right into the WH. The SCOTUS ought to be ashamed of what they did to the VRA.

    August 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Borderless

    The whole voter ID law debate is silly. The number of fraudulent votes the measures will stop are next to none. The number of people that would be disenfranchised by the measures are even less. The number of legitimate voters that would actually vote but would not be able to vote as a result is pretty much zero.

    August 15, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. ????

    These laws only discriminate against people who want to vote more than once in the same election.

    August 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. rs

    Red meat for the liberals who will say what their masters tell them despite any evidence demostrating what they are complaining about. North Carolina has 70% white population and 22% African American. 67% of early voters were white and 27% were African American in the 2012 election. Those numbers are very much inline.
    _________________________
    Math isn't your strong suit is it? Almost 80% of Blacks make use of early voting, while Whites make use of absentee balloting. That didn't get curtailed did it?
    One point- OUR leader is the duly elected President of the United States (he's yours too...), not the pudgy fat man who issues talking points to his beloved "dittoheads".

    August 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. CalmerVoice

    Is it o difficult to comprehand that there is a lot of voter's fraud going on? Having a picture ID is a fast, fair, simple solution. Everyone can spare a couple hours to get it. And by God, vast majority of people have it. I, for one, will ask 10 elderly couples if they have one & help to get it if needed. Can every responsible American do the same?

    August 15, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. kirk

    We want everyone to vote that's only fair right? Yeah your a frigging hero

    August 15, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. rs

    Anonymous

    @rs

    If figures that the GOP supports Morsy and his Muslim brotherhood against the now obvious coup. The GOP is just like the Brotherhood wanting to establish a fundamentalist theocracy right here in America. Morsy is a "conservative" – just like the GOP. I suspect what we see here is a sort of projection. The GOP is right on that line of treasonous, anti-American behavior, and they don't wish to wind up like the Brotherhood now in Egypt.
    ---–
    Correct me if I am wrong but didn't the US government (Led by a DEMOCRAT) celebrate the elections in Eygpt and didn't the (led by a DEMOCRAT) celebrate the democratically electred Morsy? Isn't the US government (lead by a DEMOCRAT) NOT calling this a coup?
    ____________________________
    If the "government celebrated anything- they celbrated the appropriate use of the democratic process, i.e. a peaceful transition, and an election. No one could control who got elected.
    I stand by the statement. The GOP is making a fuss about Morsy getting canned, and they're taking Putin's side on the Russian incidents.
    Call that whatever you like.

    August 15, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. wendel

    the republican party has blinders on. They only see what they want. This law is much more than just showing an ID and they know it. Even Newt knows his party is in the crapper. Vote all these clowns out

    August 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. rs

    Who are these people who have a hard time gettng the voter ID? For the large part, it is the poor (can't afford to take the time to do it), the elderly (don't always have the picture ID because they didn't need it when they had a driver's lience) and the young (don't have enough to get an ID).
    ____________________
    Indeed- the problem we have in AZ. is that there is some vascilation as to whether or not a Driver's license is a sufficient ID. NC says a "state ID" works, but oddly rejects state college and university issued IDs.
    It is what it is- voter suppression.

    August 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. rs

    CalmerVoice

    Is it o difficult to comprehand that there is a lot of voter's fraud going on? Having a picture ID is a fast, fair, simple solution. Everyone can spare a couple hours to get it. And by God, vast majority of people have it. I, for one, will ask 10 elderly couples if they have one & help to get it if needed. Can every responsible American do the same?
    ________________________________
    But- there is zero evidence of ANY voter fraud- so why a big government response to a non-problem? Second, it isn't just the ID issue (and attendent inconsistancies- like State University IDs being invalid), its the closure of polling places (that will get more use), and ending early voting (which disproportionately affects minorities).
    It's voter suppression pal- be honest.

    August 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. rs

    ????

    These laws only discriminate against people who want to vote more than once in the same election.
    ____________________________
    Funny, but there's no proof that is happening- we'd certainly hear about it. This is just a GOP big-government-anti-freedom solution to a problem that doesn't exist- it is, in fact, a blunt attempt at voter suppression a la the South, circa 1955.

    August 15, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Larry in Houston

    Hey Rand, are you sure you've got your priorities straight ? LOL . . If I were you, I would worry about trying to Win, & NOT trying to Fight with Christy . . . you need to get a grip, man . . .

    August 15, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, Mr. Rand Paul. The GOP is certainly making it much harder on a whole lot of people willing to cast their votes. Just saying.

    August 15, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. lordflin

    Indiana surveyed their voting results a couple of years back and found some twenty percent of the ballots were fraudulent. The percentages in a state such as California are bound to be much higher. Here in the sate of Idaho... and btw I lived in California most of my life, an taught Chemistry in the public school system... One can acquire a photo ID for three dollars at the DMV... If the argument is that the poor in this country cannot afford an hour of their time and three dollars to obtain an ID sometime during the year it is a a very weak one. If there is any legitimacy to it then let the state pick up the tab for the cost, and all of these get out the vote organizations that register the likes of 'Micky Mouse', one of the registrants found in the Indiana survey, can provide transportation to the local DMV...

    The real argument here is that a portion of the country wishing to impose their views upon the rest of us desire a fraudulent system... Why don't you just come out and say it and let's stop playing agates...

    August 15, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Kait

    Basically, this amounts to saying you have to pay to vote.

    Even basic (non DL) state photo IDs cost money. Short of changing that to a free photo ID program (and the hours are always working hours) you've basically tacked a fee on to voting. It might not be a lot, but it's ridiculously wrong on principle.

    And that's ignoring the requirements to get a driver's license, which have nothing to do with voting.

    August 15, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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