Claire McCaskill Slams Voter ID; Says GOP Scare Tactics Backfire With Black Voters

Feb 27, 2013 at 5:00 am

There's a silver lining to Republican voter suppression efforts.

So says Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who argued at a recent St. Louis press conference that the scare tactics of the GOP had the opposite effect -- inspiring more voters to show up to the polls.

"We had a record turnout in November in many areas of this state and a very large African-American turnout," she said. "I in some ways want to thank the Republicans, because I think part of that turnout was attributable to the fact that many African Americans said, 'You're going to try and keep me from voting? Watch me.'"

The senator was responding to a question from Daily RFT about the voter ID proposal currently advancing in Missouri. Is she worried?

As we've reported, a proposal to mandate all voters in the state show photo identification, has been moving trough the legislative process, sparking very contentious debates that echo fights across the country surrounding ID requirements.

Critics say this mandate amounts to a concerted effort to suppress voters, while supporters say the legislation will prevent voter fraud and has measures in place to prevent disenfranchisement.

Claire McCaskill at last week's press conference. - Sam Levin
Sam Levin
Claire McCaskill at last week's press conference.

In Missouri, legislators would have to pass the ID law and voters would have to support a ballot measure to amend the constitution.

For her part, McCaskill, speaking to reporters at a press event on Friday, said she is hopeful that a majority of voters in Missouri would not back photo ID requirements.

"I think if they understand what's going on, they won't approve it," she said. "If they understand there's an election happening and they all show up to the polls, I don't think they would approve it."

She continued, "It's interesting. If you look at the history of voter rights in this country, the Republican Party used to be the leader of trying to ensure everyone's voting rights and now they're the author of all of this legislation around the country trying to make it harder to vote...more and more requirements to make it less open."

Referencing efforts to allow people to vote in advance -- which Democrats have proposed this session -- she said, "They've blocked early voting in Missouri all these years. We ought to make voting as easy as possible in this grand and glorious democracy and I don't get what they think they're gaining."

She added, "If they think they're gonna have electoral success by continuing to say, 'We've gotta make it harder to vote,' I think they've miscalculated."

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