In a delicious irony, media expecting to see Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech before the NAACP in Houston, Texas, today attacking voter ID laws were obliged to show proper credentials to get in the room. That included, yes, government-issued photo identification.
Here was the alert sent to reporters, prior to Holder’s appearance:
All media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license) as well as valid media credentials. Members of the media must RSVP to receive press credentials at http://action.naacp.org/page/s/registration. For security purposes, media check-in and equipment set up must be completed by 9:45 a.m. CDT for a 10:00 a.m. CDT security sweep.
Versions of this alert were sent out by both the NAACP and the Justice Department. The language on the ID section was identical.
It is ironic of course because both groups have been at the forefront of attacking voter ID laws, calling them racist efforts at voter suppression. In fact, the Justice Department has sued Texas, the very state Holder was speaking in regarding the issue.
In his speech, Holder said:
In our efforts to protect voting rights and to prevent voting fraud, we will be vigilant and strong. But let me be clear: we will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right.
If wanted to hear him say that in person, and didn’t have a proper government photo ID, you were outta luck.
Granted, in this particular case these ID requirements were not about voting and there are legitimate security issues at work whenever a top federal official appears at an event.
Still, you’d think if the Justice Department could say there are genuine circumstances when photo IDs are necessary for security, they might realize that could extend to other areas as well.