Monday, October 22, 2007

Letter: John Tanner must be removed

David Plouffe of the Obama campaign sent out an email urging supporters to send letters calling for the firing of John Tanner, the voting rights chief who made the preposterous statements about minority voters. Barack has already called for Tanner to be sacked.

John Tanner must be removed from his position as the nation's top voting rights official.

His recent comments that elderly minority voters are not disenfranchised by photo ID requirements because "they die first" reveals an obvious disregard for their voting rights.

Tanner's record as voting rights chief demonstrates that same disregard. Join Barack in sending a letter to the Attorney General's office demanding that he be replaced.

Send a letter now
Dear Paul,

This is pretty unbelievable.

John Tanner, the top ranking voting rights official at the Justice Department, was caught on video claiming that photo ID requirements do not disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters because: "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do; they die first."

He went on to argue, irrationally, that these requirements actually benefit minorities because: "Anything that disproportionately impacts the elderly has the opposite impact on minorities."

Barack sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler last week demanding that John Tanner be removed from his position -- but the Justice Department needs to hear from you as well. The more they hear from people like you, the more pressure they will feel to do the right thing.

Send a message to the Attorney General's office and tell him to replace Tanner immediately:

As absurd and wrong-headed as Tanner's remarks were, they are less surprising in the context of his record as voting rights chief.

Tanner has been an outspoken advocate for photo ID requirements for voters, going so far as to overrule the recommendations of Justice Department lawyers in order to support a controversial photo ID requirement in Georgia.

The Georgia law has been repeatedly compared to a poll tax. In 2005, Barack Obama spoke out against this law, noting that, "in our democracy, the goal should be to encourage eligible voters to vote, not to create new barriers to make it more difficult for them to exercise their most basic right." Barack also introduced

a resolution in response to Tanner's decision to approve the Georgia law, expressing his belief that any law requiring a photo ID to vote would put an undue burden on voters.

Numerous studies show that photo ID requirements have a discriminatory impact on African American and other minority voters. Yet, in public statements like his October 5th remarks, Tanner continues to justify them with faulty logic. And it adds insult to injury to use tragic discrepancies in life expectancies for African Americans as justification for policies that would further disenfranchise them.

The situation is clear. John Tanner has an obvious disregard for the voting rights of minorities and should not be in charge of protecting them.

John Tanner must go. Join Barack in demanding that he be removed from his position immediately:

From the beginning, our campaign has been about increasing the number of Americans who are engaged in the political process. We took our lead from Barack's days as a community organizer and built a network of hundreds of thousands of supporters nationwide, many of whom are getting involved in politics for the first time.

John Tanner and others like him have been appointed to positions of power in the Bush administration with the specific intent of limiting participation in ways that benefit the Republican Party. It's time to turn the page on that kind of politics.

All we demand -- and all that any reasonable person of either party should demand -- is that voting rules be fair and enforced equally, regardless of race.

John Tanner has demonstrated time and again that he has other things in mind. His recent comments are the last straw -- he must go:

Thank you,


David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America


Paid for by Obama for America

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