Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney asserted Tuesday that photo IDs were free to all voters and that Attorney General Eric Holder had made a “very serious error” by blocking a South Carolina law that requires an ID to vote.
In blocking the South Carolina law Friday, the Justice Department said that it was trying to prevent minorities — who often do not have a valid photo ID — from being disenfranchised.
“I can’t fly to see my family without a photo ID,” a woman told Romney Tuesday. “If this country can’t hold an honest election, how can we stand before the world and expect these Third World countries to do it?”
“Very good point,” Romney replied. “You know there’s not very much that Eric Holder does that I agree with. I have to wonder how it is that the president continues to support him. And the answer must be, the president agrees with him.”
“I find it extraordinary that Eric Holder is, one more time, making a very serious error,” the candidate continued. “The idea that people should not be able to be identified as they vote so that we can know that they are not voting multiple times. I mean, that’s the purpose here of course. We don’t want people voting multiple times and you can get a photo ID free from your state. You can get it at the time you register to vote.”
To make his point, Romney asked the mostly-white crowd, “Is there anyone here who is over 18 — or 18 and over — that does not have a photo ID? Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
He added: “That’s one more lawsuit I’d end if I were president of the United States.”
The former Massachusetts governor may be wrong about the fact that photo IDs are free to all voters.
The American Civil Liberties Union recently sued the state of Wisconsin, arguing that their photo ID law was a de facto poll tax.
In just one example, 84-year-old Ruthelle Frank would have had to pay over $200 to get the documents necessary to get a “free” photo ID. Frank was born at home and was never issued a birth certificate, which costs $20. To make matters worse, her name is misspelled on official records and she would also have to pay around $200 to have that corrected.
A recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice, titled “Voting Law Changes in 2012,” determined that new voting restrictions, largely championed by Republican lawmakers, could suppress the the votes of more than five million young, minority, low-income, and disabled voters, all groups that tend to vote for Democrats.
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Dec. 27, 2011.