- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Obama says panel will halt ‘tricks’ to block voters
President Obama said Friday that his new voting-rights commission will help to prevent state officials from engaging in "new tricks" that discourage minorities from voting.
"It's very important that we work together to make sure everybody gets a chance to vote, and we clear away a lot of this nonsense," Mr. Obama said in an interview with SiriusXM radio. He added that the country needs more election rules "to make sure that people aren't waiting in line for six, seven hours, that there aren't new tricks that discourage people from voting."
Although he did not single out Republicans by name, Mr. Obama's comments came after the two major parties sparred continually during last election cycle over new voting requirements instituted in a string of GOP-controlled states. Backers of the new laws say they were needed to prevent polling fraud, while critics said they were a way to intimidate or curtail voting primarily by low-income and minority voters, who tended to back the president.
In his State of the Union address on Feb. 12, Mr. Obama announced the creation of a non-partisan commission to investigate problems with voting nationwide. The effort is being co-chaired by Bob Bauer, former top lawyer for the president's re-election campaign, and Ben Ginsberg, who was the lead attorney for the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney.
Some Republicans in Congress have objected to the commission, saying it could interfere in an issue that should be left up to the states.
Mr. Obama told Sirius host Joe Madison that new regulations to protect minority voting rights would guard against the impact of a potential Supreme Court ruling to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The justices next week will hear oral arguments in an Alabama case in which Shelby County officials argue that they ought to be finally free of the law's requirements, which mandate that officials in certain jurisdictions seek "pre-clearance" from the federal government before enacting any new election laws.
The president said the law has aided black and Latino voters for decades by blocking "any new mechanisms that prevented people from voting." Mr.Obama alluded to those recent laws in various Republican-controlled states changing early-voting schedules and requiring voters to show identification before casting ballots.
"If Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is struck down, then that pre-clearance process would go away," Mr. Obama said. "Now, you'd still have laws in place that would insist that everybody has the right to vote, but the difference is that you'd now have to wait until after … some of these mechanisms had been put into place before you filed suit to try to get them struck down."
He added, "Obviously, if it's after an election, it's a lot harder to give people relief and there are some parts of the country where obviously folks have been trying to make it harder for people to vote, and so generally speaking, you'd see less protection before an election with respect to voting rights and people could keep coming up with new schemes each election. Even if ultimately they were ruled to violate the Voting Rights Act, it would be hard for us to catch those things up front to make sure that elections are done in an equitable way."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Skeptics on all sides take aim of John Kerry's tentative deal on Ukraine
- Obama commutes drug dealer's sentence because of clerical error
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Obama calls for prayer on anniversary of Boston Marathon bombing
- Obama urges Putin to defuse Russian separatism in Ukraine
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- 'Deport Bieber' petition draws no comment from White House
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.