Obama Wants Voter-Rights Official Sacked

Said voter ID laws don't hurt minorities; they 'don't become elderly'
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2007 7:52 AM CDT

Barack Obama wrote to the Justice Department asking for the dismissal of John Tanner, the head of its voting rights division, in the wake of Tanner's assertions that voter ID laws primarily hurt old white people, because "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first." Obama called the comments "erroneous, offensive and dangerous," but Justice is standing behind Tanner, reports the AP.

Tanner dug himself into a logical hole in his address to the National Latino Congreso on October 5, arguing that "anything that disproportionately impacts the elderly has the opposite impact on minorities." Black Americans do have shorter life expectancies than whites, by about five years, but are still well represented among the ranks of the country's senior citizens, the AP notes. (More voting rights stories.)

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