Senator Rand Paul, who is no stranger to taking insipid stands on civil rights, (Rachel Maddow Corners Rand Paul On His Extremist Views Of Civil Rights) took a surprising position on Republicans obsession with Voter ID laws.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky broke Friday with fellow Republicans who have pushed for stricter voting laws as a way to crack down on fraud at the polls, saying that the focus on such measures alienates and insults African-Americans and hurts the party.
“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”
Mr. Paul becomes the most prominent member of his party — and among the very few — to distance himself from the voting restrictions and the campaign for their passage in states under Republican control, including North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, that can determine presidential elections. Civil rights groups call the laws a transparent effort to depress black turnout.
Republicans have been passing Voter ID laws they say to combat voter fraud, but there is no evidence to back up their claims and the only reason they have been passing laws like this is to help Republicans win elections. It's all very simple. I know Rand Paul is taking some contrary positions to his conservative brethren so as to make him appear different, but this is still good for the electorate at large to hear.
He also supported giving voting rights back to convicted felons:
“The bigger issue actually is whether you get to vote if you have a felony conviction,” he said. “There’s 180,000 people in Kentucky who can’t vote. And I don’t know the racial breakdown, but it’s probably more black than white because they’re convicted felons. And I’m for getting their right to vote back, which is a much bigger deal than showing your driver’s license.”
However, Paul did refuse to go "all in" against Voter ID nonsense:
According to the Times, despite Paul's comments Friday, he did not "denounce voter ID laws as bad policy or take back previous statements in which he had said it was not unreasonable for voters to be required to show identification at the polls. He says these laws should be left to the states." Last month, during a sit-down interview with former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, Paul said he thought Republicans may have "over-emphasized" the issue of voter fraud.