USA Today published an op-ed Friday that seemed to make no moral difference between murders by the Ku Klux Klan and legislation requiring proper identification before voting – something 70 percent of Americans and even 51 percent of blacks support in the latest poll.
The author of the article was David Goodman, whose brother Andrew was shot dead by the KKK fifty years ago Friday. Goodman is right that his brother’s death spurred voting-rights legislation. But how can you possibly compare murder to a voter-ID requirement on a moral scale? Goodman wrote:
So the [murder] case, which inspired the movie Mississippi Burning, lit a fire for the cause. It is no coincidence that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed the following year.
Yet here we go again. Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of that landmark piece of legislation, and immediately a number of states moved to implement laws that would essentially reduce voter turnout among minority groups. Dubious claims of voter fraud are being used to once again disenfranchise a portion of the population.
In 1964, black would-be voters were turned away by intimidation and poll tests. Now, voter ID requirements and limited voting hours will disproportionately turn away, or inconvenience, low-income and minority voters. It is a more sophisticated and insidious form of voter suppression.
Goodman and USA Today are trying to blur together cold-blooded racist murderers with "insidious" legislators like Wisconsin’s limiting early-voting hours to 7:30 am to 5 pm.
"Excuse me sir, may I verify your identity with a driver's license or other form of ID?" is not the same as a bullet in the temple.