Hillary Clinton: Wisconsin Voters ‘Turned Away’ from Polls in 2016 over Skin Color

Hillary Clinton campaigns in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 2, 2016.
Barbara Kinney / Hillary for America

Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested Sunday that voter suppression in Wisconsin contributed to her 2016 election defeat, claiming voters were “turned away” from the polls due to their skin color.

“I was the first person who ran for president without the protection of the Voting Rights Act,” Clinton began in her remarks to parishioners commemorating the 54th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma, Alabama. “I’ll tell you, it makes a really big difference. And it doesn’t just make a difference in Alabama and Georgia. It made a difference in Wisconsin, where the best studies that have been done said somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 people were turned away from the polls because of the color of their skin, because of their age, because of whatever excuse could be made up to stop a fellow American citizen from voting.”
In 2011, Wisconsin state lawmakers passed voter ID legislation following a lengthy legal fight. The Supreme Court ruled the law was constitutional, allowing it to take effect in 2015. Republicans argue the photo ID law is necessary to combat election fraud, while Democrats claim the mandate is simply a way to suppress the votes of minorities.

Acceptable IDs in Wisconsin include driver licenses; state ID cards, which can be obtained for free through the state Department of Transportation; proof that the voter has applied for a free state ID; U.S. military identification; U.S. passports; and photo IDs issued by a Wisconsin university or technical college accompanied by proof of enrollment, according to the state Elections Commission.

Clinton, in another shot at Republicans’ focus on Voter ID laws, said later: “there is another side in America, and they never give up.”

“They’re never discouraged,” she continued. They are motivated every single day to try to pull back rights, to try to suppress rights, to try to prevent people from fulfilling their own God-given potential.”

She then went on to slam a the 2013 Supreme Court ruling — Shelby County v. Holder — which said a key tenet of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. “What nonsense! Absolute absurd nonsense,” said Clinton. “They gutted the Voting Rights Act.”

President Trump won the Electoral College with 304 votes compared to 227 votes for Clinton. Victory in Wisconsin only gave him ten electoral votes.

Clinton slipped in and out of her infamous southern twang during the speech to a predominantly black audience.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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