‘What about bars?’: Sen. Lee responds to suggestions that voting ID requirements may be racist

Local Politics

(Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)


WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4) – Utah Senator Mike Lee voiced his feelings against witness testimony stating that an ID requirement would be a potentially discriminatory obstacle in the voting process on Wednesday.

At a U.S. Senate Committee hearing on Wednesday, Franita Tolson, a professor and dean at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, expressed her view on the matter.

“Georgia, which was a swing state in the 2020 presidential election, also overhauled its voting laws in
the wake of that election, enacting changes that will have a deleterious effect on the ability of
communities of color to cast a ballot in the state,” Tolson stated. “Georgia’s new restrictions, for example, would curb access to the absentee voting process that was used at high rates by minority communities
during the 2020 election cycle.”

In response to the testimony given by Tolson and others, Lee gave a counterargument, that included a series of rhetorical questions.

“Is our entire health care system racist? Are pharmacies racist? The airline industry. Is that racist? The TSA? What about bars?” Lee asked. “I mean some people consider it a form of flattery, I guess if they get carded but it happens.”

Thomas Saenz, who serves as the president for MALDEF, an organization that works as a Latino legal voice for Civil Rights in America, and who also gave testimony at the hearing responded by suggesting that at the venues listed by Lee, an ID is not a stalwart form of defense as fakes can be passed off as the real deal, especially at bars.

“These examples given by Sen. Lee really are not relevant because we see fraud in those circumstances, whether it’s at a bar, as he suggested, or accessing benefits,” Saenz stated in response to questioning from another committee member.

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