KEY POINTS

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden pitched himself as a life-long protector of voting rights in an an op-ed in a major South Carolina newspaper
  • Biden pointed to voter ID laws he said discriminate against people who are unlikely to have government issued-ID cards
  • Biden's op-ed comes at a time when a top Trump adviser was caught saying Republicans have been suppressing votes

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, touted his work on voting rights and condemned GOP-led efforts to establish voter ID laws in an op-ed published in a major South Carolina newspaper.

"When I was elected to the Senate, one of the earliest things I worked on was extending and strengthening the Voting Rights Act," he noted in his op-ed in The State, a newspaper based in Columbia, S.C. , during the weekend. The South Carolina primary is Feb. 29, the fourth opportunity voters will get to weigh in on their choice for the Demcratic presidential nomination. It also presents the first opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their electability in a contest where the majority of voters is expected to be black Democrats.

He then pivoted to criticism of Republican-backed voter ID laws, which require voters to present a government-issued form of identification to vote.

"Currently 35 states have some form of 'voter ID' requirement. These laws aren’t about fraud," he wrote. "They’re about making it harder for people of color to vote, and it’s just as un-American today as it was during Jim Crow."



Republican politicians have largely defended their drive to install voter ID laws, arguing that many of America's overseas neighbors require IDs to vote. Democrats counter that voter fraud is extremely rare, and ID laws are a form of voter suppression that makes it more difficult for people who have a right to vote to exercise that right.

Late last month, Trump reelection campaign adviser Justin Clark, seemed to validate Democratic concerns that Republicans are intentionally trying to suppress votes. 

“Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” Clark said at a private event hosted by the Republican National Lawyers Association’s Wisconsin chapter. “Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are. ... Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”

Clark later insisted to the Associated Press, which obtained an audio recording of the event, that he was referring to false allegations against the GOP.

“As should be clear from the context of my remarks, my point was that Republicans historically have been falsely accused of voter suppression and that it is time we stood up to defend our own voters," Clark said. "Neither I nor anyone I know or work with would condone anyone’s vote being threatened or diluted and our efforts will be focused on preventing just that.”