Comedy Central guest distorts voter ID laws, and that's not so funny

Voters across the country will soon have an opportunity to elect a slew of officeholders to run our government and represent our views, and not a single eligible voter has any excuse, nor evidence of any government-imposed obstacle, preventing him from participating.

It doesn't matter if he's black or white, rich or poor, country mouse or city mouse.

Voting in the United States is likely the easiest and most convenient official interaction between citizen and government ever devised. 

But if you watched Comedy Central's news program The Daily Show last month (video here), you probably think thousands of Americans – poor, black Americans, actually – are being deliberately blocked from exercising that right. 

Carol Anderson, author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, told the show's host, Trevor Noah, that my home state of Alabama, among others, has erected a series of government hurdles designed to keep some citizens from voting.  


Author Carol Anderson appears on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in October of 2018 to discuss voting rights issues (Comedy Central/YouTube).

"You create an obstacle, and then you create an obstacle to the obstacle, and you make it so difficult for people ... to just access their basic right to vote," Anderson said.

Those obstacles? 

Voter ID laws.  Most states require some form of identification to vote – 17 require photo ID, and another 17 require a non-photo ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

While Anderson may have the best of intentions, her accusation that Alabama and other states with voter ID laws are creating obstacles isn't actually true.  At least not anymore. 

For decades, blacks in Alabama and in other states were indeed denied their right to vote.  There were white-only primary elections, literacy tests, poll taxes, and blatant intimidation. 

Anderson and others have every reason to be suspicious of laws, regulations, and actions impacting voting rights.  They'd be foolish not to be, in fact, because racism is, and will likely always remain, in the hearts of men. 

We must study, teach, and learn from that disgraceful part of our past.

But it's just that – the past.

There's no evidence of an institutionally planned and implemented scheme to deny black people, or any people, the right to vote. 

The evidence, on the contrary, suggests the exact opposite, but it's evidence that's either unknown or ignored by Anderson and other critics of voter ID laws.

Voters across the country will soon have an opportunity to elect a slew of officeholders to run our government and represent our views, and not a single eligible voter has any excuse, nor evidence of any government-imposed obstacle, preventing him from participating.

It doesn't matter if he's black or white, rich or poor, country mouse or city mouse.

Voting in the United States is likely the easiest and most convenient official interaction between citizen and government ever devised. 

But if you watched Comedy Central's news program The Daily Show last month (video here), you probably think thousands of Americans – poor, black Americans, actually – are being deliberately blocked from exercising that right. 

Carol Anderson, author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, told the show's host, Trevor Noah, that my home state of Alabama, among others, has erected a series of government hurdles designed to keep some citizens from voting.  


Author Carol Anderson appears on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in October of 2018 to discuss voting rights issues (Comedy Central/YouTube).

"You create an obstacle, and then you create an obstacle to the obstacle, and you make it so difficult for people ... to just access their basic right to vote," Anderson said.

Those obstacles? 

Voter ID laws.  Most states require some form of identification to vote – 17 require photo ID, and another 17 require a non-photo ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

While Anderson may have the best of intentions, her accusation that Alabama and other states with voter ID laws are creating obstacles isn't actually true.  At least not anymore. 

For decades, blacks in Alabama and in other states were indeed denied their right to vote.  There were white-only primary elections, literacy tests, poll taxes, and blatant intimidation. 

Anderson and others have every reason to be suspicious of laws, regulations, and actions impacting voting rights.  They'd be foolish not to be, in fact, because racism is, and will likely always remain, in the hearts of men. 

We must study, teach, and learn from that disgraceful part of our past.

But it's just that – the past.

There's no evidence of an institutionally planned and implemented scheme to deny black people, or any people, the right to vote. 

The evidence, on the contrary, suggests the exact opposite, but it's evidence that's either unknown or ignored by Anderson and other critics of voter ID laws.