Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Voter ID Protest

A protest set for Tuesday afternoon is to include remarks from a top NAACP official who recently tangled with Bill O'Reilly.

Voter ID Protest


A voter ID protest scheduled at the state Capitol Tuesday afternoon is likely to bring lots of heat to the already boiling issues surrounding Pennsylvania's new law requiring photo IDs be shown in order to vote.

For one thing, the thousand or so "Rally for Justice" participants are to gather on the main steps of the Capitol building starting at 1 p.m. when the temperatures are projected in the 90's.

For another, the keynote speaker is Hilary Shelton, senior NAACP vice president for advocacy and policy, who recently tangled with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on the issue of race and Republicans.

Today's protest, sponsored by the Pennsylvania NAACP, almost certainly will fire up racial themes since many charge the voter ID is a GOP plan to surpress African-American votes in a year the nation's first African-American president seeks reelection.

Shelton and O'Reilly got into the whole Republican/race thing recently after GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared at the NAACP convention in Houston.

O'Reilly pressed hard on the assertion by some Democrats that Romney made the appearance knowing he'd be booed (as he was, especially on his promise to repeal "Obamacare") in order to appeal to white voters who don't like blacks.

You can see interview here. At 7:30 in O'Reilly asks Shelton if he thinks Romney did the NAACP convention to "gin up" racist votes. Shelton answers that he can't say `yes' but adds, "I can't dismiss it."

I'm betting nobody at today's rally will be dismissing the charge that black voter supression is behind the state's new law, especially since the Civil Rights Division of U.S. Justice Department is now investigating -- just as the law heads into Commonwealth Court (Wednesday) where it's being challenged on constitutional grounds.

So fire up you're talking points. It's gonna be a hot one. In more ways than one.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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