Monday, February 4, 2013

Powell explains voter suppression to O'Reilly

Colin Powell schooled O'Reilly on voting rights. (photo: Media Matters)
Colin Powell schooled O'Reilly on voting rights. (photo: Media Matters)

By Sergio Munoz, Media Matters for America
02 February 13
n an interview with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly ignored key legal problems for photo voter ID laws under the Voting Rights Act and dismissed concerns of voter suppression, claiming in-person voter fraud was a problem.

On the January 29 edition of the O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly hosted Powell to discuss "racial politics," voter suppression, and voter fraud, but failed to provide important context, including any mention of a crucial Voting Rights Act case set to be argued before the Supreme Court on February 27. In part, this case will turn on the historic civil rights law's efficacy at preventing the type of race-based voter suppression Powell described.

The problem that recent photo voter ID laws purport to address - voter fraud committed in person - is "virtually non-existent." Nevertheless, in the past two years, state Republican legislators and right-wing allies have aggressively pushed such laws that add another identification requirement for voting, even though voter identification is already required across the country. Under the Voting Rights Act, federal courts have recently confirmed that new voter ID laws in jurisdictions with a history of voter suppression have a prohibited effect on African-American and Hispanic voters.

O'Reilly refused to acknowledge any of these facts in his interview with Powell, even as Powell tried to explain them to him:

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