WASHINGTON — A new poll shows that a majority of black Americans support voter ID laws despite a full-court press by the Obama Administration and its supporters in and out of government to label such polling place protections as a danger to civil rights. Members of the Project 21 black leadership network note this very basic safeguard ensures the integrity of the democratic process and provides Americans of all races, genders and creeds with an assurance their vote will count.
“It should come as no surprise that a majority of blacks support voter ID,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law and former leadership staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives. “Voter ID is a popular and commonsense tool, popular with all Americans that ensures that real bona fide Americans are casting the votes to determine who our elected officials will be and what policies they will promote.”
The poll of 1,025 registered voters, conducted for the Fox News Channel by the bipartisan polling team of Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research between May 10 and 13, found wide black support for President Barack Obama (86 percent) while a majority of 51 percent of those blacks surveyed also supported the state-level voter ID laws Obama claims are an attack on blacks by “people trying to deny our rights by making voting harder.” On other issues, surveyed blacks overwhelmingly sided with Obama on his controversial handling of the economy (89 percent) and ObamaCare (83 percent), making this break with him on the issue of voter ID all the more noteworthy.
“This poll shows there may be strong black support for Obama as a politician, but not necessarily as a policymaker. And a prime example are voter ID laws,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. “Although the Obama Administration, its legislative and judicial supporters, the media and left-wing activists continue to oppose voter ID laws and claim they marginalize minorities, the black community is still quite supportive of efforts to protect polling place. After relentless warnings they could be denied the right to vote, a majority of black Americans in this particular poll still recognize the need to protect legal voters against identity theft.”
Voter ID found majority support in this poll among every individual demographic that was surveyed, which included political affiliation, gender, race (black and white) and educational attainment. Overall, 70 percent of those surveyed supported “state laws that require voters to show a valid form of state- or federally-issued photo identification to prove U.S. citizenship before being allowed to vote,” while only 27 percent opposed them.
“Requiring identification to prove who you are at the polls just makes good sense,” said Project 21’s Christopher Arps, based in Missouri and the founder of the black conservative social network Move-on-up.org. “Voter ID laws protect the overall integrity of our electoral process and safeguard every citizen’s right to cast a ballot in his or her own name.”
“A majority of black Americans in this poll found nothing inherently racist about showing an ID to vote. It discredits the progressive talking point that black Americans uniformly see voter laws as racist and an attempt at voter suppression,” said Project 21’s Kevin Martin, a small business owner and U.S. Navy veteran. “It also shows that progressives who claim to represent the black community are not listening to us on this issue. Perhaps it is because they only seek to use our community to further their own agenda.”
Cooper added: “It is critical to the notion of self-government that only lawfully registered voters participate in elections, and that is why over seven of 10 Americans support it. While Attorney General Eric Holder tries to convince the media that voter ID is somehow anti-black, even blacks disagree. The truth is that voter ID gives all Americans — black, white, yellow and brown — the confidence that their vote matters and it will count.”
In 2013, Project 21 filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on the merits of the case of Shelby County v. Holder, whose decision last June struck down the “preclearance” formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act that prohibited certain states and localities from enacting voting standards without prior federal approval. This decision validated state voter ID laws. Previously, Project 21 joined another legal brief written by the Pacific Legal Foundation and joined by the Center for Equal Opportunity that urged the Court to take up the Shelby County case.
Members of Project 21, the only conservative group on hand for interviews at the Court on the day the Shelby County case was argued, were interviewed and cited with regard to the Shelby County case more than 100 times in 2013 alone — including by Reuters, the Westwood One radio network, HBO’s “Real Time,” CBS Radio, Voice of America, the Chicago Tribune, Blaze TV, the Washington Examiner and in Cal Thomas’s widely-syndicated opinion column. Project 21 members also defended voter ID laws at the United Nations in 2012. In 2014, members of Project 21 were interviewed or cited in the media more than 700 times.
— Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for more than two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982.