Fox News host Bill O’Reilly this week dismissed charges that African Americans and other voters of color are disenfranchised by voter identification laws, saying he hasn’t seen evidence of that among his circle of Black acquaintances.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly (Screengrab)

O’Reilly made the remarks during the Sept. 13 taping of the “O’Reilly Factor,” while he and his guests discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not reinstate Ohio’s “Golden Week,” a period in which voters could have registered and cast ballots at the same time.

Democrats were attempting to get the high court to overturn an appeals court ruling in the matter, pointing out that the law—like many of its ilk—disproportionately impacts racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, the young and the elderly.  But, O’Reilly and his guests said otherwise.

“There’s been no evidence of disenfranchisement…” former prosecutor Kimberly Guilfoyle said when O’Reilly interjected.

“There never has been,” he said, adding, “Every African American I know has an ID.”

The host also seemed to diminish voter access initiatives such as early voting, same-day registration and the like as being unreasonable.

“There’s all kind of stuff about people wanting to vote at the last minute, they want to vote after the election, they want to vote at 3 a.m. …. And if you say, ‘No, you can’t do any of that,’ then you’re disenfranchising them,” he said in the clip of the show posted on YouTube my Media Matters for America.

O’Reilly’s Black friends notwithstanding, several studies have shown that millions of African Americans lack ID and that it’s not always the easiest or most affordable task to obtain one.

According to a Project Vote study from last year, 13 percent of African Americans lack necessary photographic identification, compared to 5 percent of Whites.

 

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO