MSNBC Once Again Ignores Inconvenient Facts in Pushing 'Block the Vote' Narrative About Voter ID Laws

It seems facts are an inconvenient nuisance to anchors at MSNBC, especially when they get in the way of their favored narratives. A perfect case in point is morning anchor Thomas Roberts who treated his 11 a.m. Eastern MSNBC Live audience to an error-laden report on the GOP's supposed concerted effort to "block the vote" in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Roberts began by noting a GOP legislator Mike Turzai (R) from the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, whose "recent comment" has "revived debate over what many say is a concerted Republican effort to block key votes in battleground states."


"The Department of State estimates 96,000 voters could be turned away in Pa. because they don't have a valid photo ID," Roberts noted playing a sound bite of Turzai. But under the law, no voter will really be "turned away" for lack of ID. According to the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures, the new voter ID law allows voters without photo ID to cast provisional ballots at the polling place.

Such voters have six days thereafter to mail in, fax in, or present in person their photo ID to their respective county elections board to get their provisional ballot counted.

Roberts then turned to neighboring state Ohio, introducing a story by MSNBC contributor Jeff Johnson on the "black church vote in the Buckeye State." For his part, Johnson too had his share of misinformation in his report.

"Black churches have long organized traditional souls-to-the-polls voter drives after Sunday services during election years," Johnson noted as he opened his report. "But because of a new Ohio law, voters will no longer be allowed to cast their ballots during the weekend before the election," he added.

While it's true that early voting on the weekend before Election Day was done away with, Ohio permits ANY voter, regardless of their reason, to cast an absentee ballot.

"All Ohio voters have the opportunity to vote in the next Primary or General Election from the convenience of their own homes by requesting an absentee ballot. You can request your ballot for each individual election beginning on January 1, 2012, or 90 days before the date of an election, whichever is earlier," the Ohio Department of State website notes. What's more, voters who want to vote absentee but like actually turning in their ballot by hand can do what essentially amounts to early voting in the month preceding the election:

Ohio voters may also cast absentee ballots in person prior to Election Day through their local county board of elections. For the vast majority of voters, the early in-person voting period begins 35 days before the day of an election and ends at 6 p.m. the Friday before the election.

"With new voter access laws in more than a dozen states, minority voters in particular are facing more scrutiny across the country," Johnson added, setting up a quote by liberal Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) who condemned a "plethora of legislation aimed at discouraging voters," which requires the black church to "stand up."

Of course, Johnson failed to explain how exactly black voters are "facing more scrutiny" than white voters who lack identification. And also left completely out of Johnson's report was any hint that there are politically-engaged African-Americans who wholly support new voter ID laws, such as Herman Cain and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

Of course, two conservative Republicans defending voter ID laws and criticizing Attorney General Eric Holder's refusal to help Florida clean up its voter rolls from illegal non-citizen voters doesn't exactly fit MSNBC's "voter suppression" narrative.

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