WaPo Editorial Board: Virginia Voter ID Bill Example of State's 'Institutional Racism'

On Saturday I noted how Washington Post staffer Laura Vozzella front-loaded her February 4 Metro-section front-pager with overheated rhetoric from liberal Democrats suggesting that voter ID bills pushed by Republicans were the second-coming of Jim Crow. As I wrote my critique, I wondered what sort of news editor would allow such extremely biased dreck to go to publication.

Today's Washington Post editorial blasting the voter ID bills may very well answer my question. In "How to discourage Virginia voters," the Post editorial board today suggested that Del. Mark Cole's bill to make the state's voter ID law stricter is evidence of "institutional racism" in the Old Dominion.


"Step one: Invent a problem. Step two: Draft a discriminatory solution," snarked the subheadline to the Post editorial.

"For decades Virginia has allowed residents who lack proof of identification or whose IDs have been lost or stolen to vote, provided they are listed in the voting rolls and sign sworn statements attesting to their identities. Now, in response to no known problem, Republicans are backing a change... that would allow such citizens to cast only provisional ballots, which would be counted only if their identities were subsequently verified with IDs," the Post noted.

Of course, such legislation is perfectly legitimate and constitutional, and many states have similar requirements regarding provisional balloting. But because a 2006 study shows that "11 percent of voting-age citizens nationally lack photo IDs" and that number is "significantly higher among African Americans (25 percent)," the Post editorial board groused that the "effect" of the legislation 'would be to disenfranchise voters who helped Democrats, including President Obama, get elected in Virginia."

The Post, of course, failed to note that even some Obama-supporting liberal Democrats like Jimmy Carter believe photo ID laws are an appropriate bulwark against voter fraud, perhaps all the better to service its conclusion that the Commonwealth of Virginia would prove it "had [not] outgrown its history of institutional racism" and therefore should not "be released from Justice Department oversight" under the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters