CHICAGO — Rev. Jesse Jackson says civil rights are under vicious attack by state governments who are, one by one, instituting voter ID laws that mostly impact disenfranchised minorities. During the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 40th annual conference, Jackson blasted the states that have enacted the laws, saying they knowingly did so, most likely, to negatively impact African Americans, Hispanics and college students who are may not show up with their identification at voting sites.
Jackson is looking for the Justice Department, and, more specifically, attorney general Eric Holder to address the issue. “It is their job. It is their duty to intervene,” Jackson said about federal officials.
The requirement is currently upheld in Indiana, Georgia and six other states. Jackson spoke out on the matter in hopes that the Justice Department will review the legality of the state voter identification laws, which varies among states. Some require any photo ID, while others require government-issued IDs.
“This is an ugly season in so many ways, and it’s not happening in Illinois because we are the oasis in this desert,” Jackson said. “Somewhere between Ohio and Wisconsin and Michigan is Illinois, where the governor’s sensitivity has brought some measure of relief.” Ironically, Jackson’s civil rights and geographical neighbor, the always controversial and inflammatory Minister Louis Farrakhan, prognosticated this very issue.
“The Ku Klux Klan doesn’t wear white anymore. The Ku Klux Klan have traded in their white sheets for black robes, and they are rewriting and obliterating the gains made by our esteemed civil rights leaders,” Farrakhan said.
Eight states have passed laws requiring voters to produce photo ID cards before they’re allowed to cast regular election ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In some of those states, the federal government has to give clearance before the laws can take effect under provisions of the Voting Rights Act.