CBS Evening News Sounds the Alarm Playing the Race Card Against Voter ID Laws

 

Amidst their voluminous Super Tuesday 3 coverage, the CBS Evening News found just over two minutes to trot out the tired liberal argument that voter ID laws, like the one in North Carolina, have a racist angle.

Anchor Scott Pelley set the scene from the start of the segment before correspondent Mark Strassamann took over by making it clear that it would be a left-leaning piece on the issue: “In North Carolina, about 1,000 voters cast provisional ballots because they didn't have enough identification to meet the state's new, strict voter ID law. The law was passed even though voter fraud is almost unknown there. Opponents say the law is meant to silence minority voters.”

Strassamann spent the first few moments of his piece in North Carolina by interviewing one middle-aged voter who was uneasy ahead of Election Day because she has multiple last names due to her Hispanic heritage to the point where some of her valid IDs don’t match. 

Taking the woman at her word, Strassmann further lurched to the left on voter ID by citing a state estimate that “225,000 of its registered voters may not have a valid driver's license.” 

The CBS News correspondent then played the race card by lamenting: “Of the 11 states with record black voter turnout in 2008, seven have enacted stricter voter ID laws, including North Carolina.” 

To bolster this claim, he aired this soundbite from NYU professor Wendy Weiser: “These laws are a backlash against increasing participation by new voters in the political process.” 

Only near the end did Strassaman even bother to mention or have a clip from someone who supports the measure that ensures the integrity of the ballot box (and has something that my colleague Ken Shepherd has written extensively about):

STRASSAMANN: But Republican state representative David Lewis supports want new law. [TO LEWIS] How many documented, verified instances of voter fraud in the last five years do you know about? 

REPUBLICAN N.C. STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAVID LEWIS: We don't know if — how widespread that may be or may not be. But isn't the integrity of our republic worth maintaining that somebody is who they say they are when they present themselves to vote? 

Despite the worries of the woman he interviewed prior to her voting, Strassamann concluded by revealing that she was able to vote but “roughly 1,000 voters without valid IDs had to cast provisional ballots, which means they need to be verified before the votes can be counted.”

The transcript of the segment from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on March 15 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
March 15, 2016
6:36 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Voter ID Law]

SCOTT PELLEY: In North Carolina, about 1,000 voters cast provisional ballots because they didn't have enough identification to meet the state's new, strict voter ID law. The law was passed even though voter fraud is almost unknown there. Opponents say the law is meant to silence minority voters, and here's Mark Strassmann. 

MARK STRASSAMANN: As North Carolinians voted this morning, Maria del Carmen Sanchez Thorpe woke up worried. 

MARIA DEL CARMEN SANCHEZ THORPE: I will need to present a valid North Carolina I.D.. 

STRASSAMANN: And you're anxious about it. 

SANCHEZ THORPE: Yes, I am and if I'm anxious, I can't imagine how many people may not even show up. 

STRASSAMANN: She's 58 years old, a U.S. citizen born in Cuba. All her photo IDs, including her passport and driver's license, say Sanchez, her maiden name. 

SANCHEZ THORPE: And that's a problem because my voter registration still has my maiden name. 

STRASSAMANN: She said Latinos culturally often use different last names with sometimes conflicting IDs. North Carolina estimates 225,000 of its registered voters may not have a valid driver's license. Of the 11 states with record black voter turnout in 2008, seven have enacted stricter voter ID laws, including North Carolina. Wendy Weiser studies elections at NYU's Law School.

NYU’s WENDY WEISER: These laws are a backlash against increasing participation by new voters in the political process. 

STRASSAMANN: But Republican state representative David Lewis supports want new law. [TO LEWIS] How many documented, verified instances of voter fraud in the last five years do you know about? 

REPUBLICAN N.C. STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAVID LEWIS: We don't know if — how widespread that may be or may not be. But isn't the integrity of our republic worth maintaining that somebody is who they say they are when they present themselves to vote? 

STRASSAMANN: Sanchez Thorpe did get to vote, but by mid-afternoon, roughly 1,000 voters without valid IDs had to cast provisional ballots, which means they need to be verified before the votes can be counted. Mark Strassmann, CBS News, Raleigh. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center