Sean Hannity had Rand Paul on his radio show today to ask him about the NY Times article where it was reported that he said “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.” In short, Paul explained that while both sides have over-emphasized this issue, his point had nothing to do with the reality of the law, but the perception of the law.
Paul argues there are a group of voters we need to court who have the wrong perception of voter-ID and because of that, we need to be careful not to over-emphasize voter-ID because it will turn off those voters. In reality he has no problem with the law, he just feels like we should talk about other issues that will help draw in those voters instead of pushing them away by talking about voter-ID.
Listen to the interview below. I’ve transcribed a relevant portion of it below as well:
PAUL: No I agree, there’s nothing wrong with it. To see Eric Holder you’ve got to show your drivers license to get in the building. So I don’t really object to having some rules for how we vote. I show my drivers license every time I vote in Kentucky…and I don’t feel like it is a great burden. So it’s funny that it got reported that way.
But I do mean what I said, that Republicans need to be aware that there is a group of voters that I’m trying to court and that we should be trying to court who do see it as something directed towards them. So that’s why what I’ve been trying to emphasize is not voter-ID, but trying to emphasize that I would like to give people back the right to vote if they committed a youthful non-violent crime and have served their time. I think you do get a second chance in life. I believe in redemption as a Christian. And I think also the law should allow people who committed youthful crimes to get their voting rights back.
HANNITY: Why are people so offended by this? Anybody offended by the idea that they have to present an identification to show that they are who they say they are… Why is that so offensive to people?
PAUL: Like I say, I think both sides have made mistakes in…this issue. But it’s mainly in presentation and perception, not in reality. In the sense that, if Republicans are going to go around the country and this becomes a central theme and issue, you have to realize, rightly or wrongly, it is being perceived by some — and this is the point I was making and I think it’s still a valid point, that I’m trying to go out and say to African Americans ‘I want your vote and the Republican Party wants your vote’. If they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that showing their ID is an attempt to get them not to vote because they perceive it in the lineage of a time when it truly did happen through poll taxes and questioning to try and prevent people, if they perceive it that way, we have to be aware that the perception is out there and be careful about not so overdoing something that we further alienate a block of people we need to attract.