Rand Paul sees no evidence of voter discrimination
August 15th, 2013
10:48 AM ET
9 years 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. GOP Guy

    OMG the aliens are coming! Paul 2016!

    August 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Tony

    If you are white, you are not the ones who are discriminated against when it comes to voting. That is why Rand Paul sees no voter discrimination. It does not happen to him. When discrimination happens to people like Rand Paul, you can bet that he will notice it. Republicans complain about reverse discrimination, because it happens to them. Republicans complain about IRS targeting conservative groups, because it happens to them (of course, they miss the fact that IRS also targeted some liberal groups). What happens to Republicans in these situations happens to minorities on a regular basis in almost everything else. Republicans just don't experience it, and they prefer to keep it that way.

    August 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Nor does anyone else, except Dems. They simply want their voter fraud........and that's all this is about.

    August 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. tom l.

    "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".

    So I don't really listen to Rush but that's ok. It definitley makes you feel better to throw out wild claims that aren't backed by evidence so that's cool. However, 80% of African Americans use early voting? Really. And I have always referred to President Obama as our president. Man, you are just an angry, bitter person.

    Just go to elections dot gmu dot edu slash early underscore vote 2012 dot html and get back to me. Look at the state of North Carolina. You don't have to be so angry all the time. I hope you are honest enough to admit that you're just wrong here. It's ok to admit it. It's a very admirable quality to acknowledge when you are wrong and I won't hold it against you. It would actually impress me if you did.

    August 15, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. tom l.

    You can rest easy. They will provide voter ID's free of charge. If they didn't do that, then it would be a poll tax and unconsitutional. You should be very happy by this information and can certainly make another comment admitting that you didn't fully understand the new law.

    August 15, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Hey bland, did you ever hear of Nathan sprout ,hired by your NRC I before the 2012 election trying to rig the Florida vote for the GOP. Gov Scott will pay for that and lose in2014 along with most of the GOP garbage in the legislature in Florida !!!!

    August 15, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "Rand Paul sees no evidence of voter discrimination"

    That's because the only thing he bothers looking at is his navel.

    August 15, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. ghostwriter

    In North Carolina, the percentage of suspected voting fraud cases was 0.00002 percent.

    What's really funny is that republicans are actually getting folks to believe their nonsense. We have about half the country that even votes. American Idol gets more people to vote. And you guys actually think there will be a large number of folks that are willing to risk a significant fine and jail time......to cast a single fraudulent vote when most folks doubt that their own votes mean much. Well, that's what they are selling these days.

    All this hub bub for a problem that almost non-existent and can be defeated with a fake ID that anyone can get rather cheap. And let's not forget all the ID theft going on out here. What's to say that there won't be a run on these guys creating large databases of stolen ID's to send in large quantities of mail in votes? Now that seems like a more likely issue.

    August 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. ghostwriter

    North Carolina Governor Patrick McCrory signed a so-called voting reform bill that imposes strict photo identification requirements on the state's 4.5 million voters, rolls back the early voting period and repeals one-stop registration during early voting. The governor and the state's Republican controlled legislature have imposed a solution is search of a problem. Nearly 7 million votes were cast in the state's 2012 general and two primary elections. But only 121 alleged cases of voter fraud were referred to a district attorney's office, about 1/1000 of a percent of the total votes.

    August 15, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Steveo

    But- there is zero evidence of ANY voter fraud
    Not quite accurate RS.

    Excerpted from Cincinnati.com: A former Hamilton County poll worker was convicted Tuesday of illegal voting and could go to prison for up to six years for it.

    Melowese Richardson, 58, of Madisonville pleaded no contest to four counts of illegal voting – including voting three times for a relative who has been in a coma since 2003

    August 15, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    " 80% of African Americans use early voting? "

    In NC it was actually 70% of the black vote cast by early voting. It's been reported and I cited it here the other day...along with the fact that about 15-20% more Dems voted via early voting than GOP/Teatrolls. Reducing early voting time periods couldn't be more targeted and the fact that it will have a disparate impact on certain demographics isn't even remotely debatable.

    August 15, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. Steveo

    If you are white, you are not the ones who are discriminated against when it comes to voting. That is why Rand Paul sees no voter discrimination. It does not happen to him.
    If NC laws states ID's are required to vote, no white folks will need them too?

    August 15, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. ghostwriter

    The Romney campaign has recently captured headlines with its absurd and untrue claim that the Obama campaign is trying to suppress the rights of military voters. The real story from Ohio is how cutbacks to early voting will disproportionately disenfranchise African-American voters in Ohio’s most populous counties. African-Americans, who supported Obama over McCain by 95 points in Ohio, comprise 28 percent of the population of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County but accounted for 56 percent of early voters in 2008, according to research done by Norman Robbins of the Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates and Mark Salling of Cleveland State University. In Columbus’s Franklin County, African-Americans comprise 20 percent of the population but made up 34 percent of early voters.

    August 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. Lisa P.

    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

    Of course, those early voter stats don't say anything about *why* people voted early. Who voted early out of convenience - to avoid anticipated lines at the polls, for example, though they could have gone and waited if that had been the only option - and who voted early because they had no possibility of voting on election day due to non-negotiable circumstances?

    rs makes a good point as well that comparing the racial demographics of the entire population of North Carolina to the early voters in the last election assumes that North Carolinians of all races vote in the same proportions at the polls on Election Day, which may not be the case. What is the racial breakdown for *all* NC voters in the 2012 election? How about earlier elections, before early voting was widely adopted?

    August 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. ghostwriter

    Steveo.....1 whole case of coting fraud. Maybe you can tell us how that 1 case would have been prevented by an ID law, since the woman was a poll worker. Not to mention we already have ID laws in Ohio.

    August 15, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Malory Archer

    Nor is there any evidence of voter fraud, but that hasn't stopped rethugs setting up barriers to prevent Americans from voting.

    August 15, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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