At first glance, Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general, is the star of James O'Keefe's latest sting, but listen a little closer for pop diva Rihanna in the background. Why the artistic choice? Both Holder and Rihanna have roots in Barbados, a far off Caribbean island nation once governed by the British empire, where the two vacationed in 2011; and Barbados, like most countries, requires an I.D. to vote.
And while the central argument of Holder’s Justice Department is that voter ID is suppressing black and minority turnout, that argument doesn’t work in Barbados, where over 80% of the country is black.
The Barbadians take voting seriously. According to Barbados’s “Representation of the People’s Act,” every eligible citizen must present his or her national I.D. at the polling station. So strict is the Barbados law that overseas Barbadians, diplomats excepted, are forbidden from casting a ballot.
Barbados isn’t alone in requiring an ID. “Almost every single country requires a national I.D. to vote,” explains John Fund, author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. That, by the way, includes both of America’s neighbors—Mexico and Canada, which both require national I.D.
“Opponents of voter ID often use foreign law to justify what they want to do to the Constitution,” O’Keefe told me via phone. “So why don’t they want to follow what other countries are doing with voter ID?”
As Texas’s voter ID case works its way through the courts, maybe Justice Ginsburg, who recently lauded the Constitution of South Africa over that of America, will follow South African law, which also requires an I.D. to vote.
Image source: Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune
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