Civil rights leaders from across the country are criticizing South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's stance on voter-ID laws, reminding her that she's a minority, too, according to the Associated Press. Last year Haley signed into law a controversial voter-ID law that the federal government blocked last month. She vows to fight on against the Obama administration.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and a host of other critics say that the law is a covert attempt to take away the voting rights of ethnic minorities and poor people. Historically, Democrats have been less likely to have a driver's license or other government-issued identification.
"She couldn't vote before 1965, just as I couldn't," Jackson said to the Associated Press, referring to the Voting Rights Act, which abolished poll taxes, literacy tests and other ways that whites across the Deep South used to keep minorities from voting.
Both of Haley's parents were born in India and came to South Carolina before she was born. She is the state's first female governor but rarely mentions her heritage or childhood. She refused to comment for the Associated Press story.
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said that he would expect the governor to be more compassionate, considering that she's a minority. Her family grew up in an area that was 50 percent black. "At the end of the day, it's one more governor who is willing to deify the dreamer and desecrate the dream," said Jealous, referring to politicians who give speeches praising Martin Luther King Jr.'s work while supporting laws that undermine his message of equality.
In response to the comments by civil rights leaders, her spokesman, Rob Godfrey, released a statement: "Those who see race in this issue are those who see race in every issue, but anyone looking at this law honestly will understand it is a commonsense measure to protect our voting process. Nothing more, nothing less."
Haley's determination to keep her state's voter-ID law alive is in keeping with the Republican Party's continuing quest to suppress the black and Latino vote in the upcoming election. We are glad to see these civil rights leaders speaking out.
Read more at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.