Clyburn states he is ‘always for voter ID’ after previously calling it ‘suppression’


House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., has expressed strong opposition to voter identification requirements in the past, but now that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-Va., is pushing for it in an effort to reach a voting reform compromise, he claims he has “always” been a fan. 

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Clyburn asserted that he “absolutely” could back Manchin’s ID proposal.

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“When I first registered to vote as a 21-year-old – back then, 18-year-olds could not vote – I got a voter registration card and I always present that voter registration card to vote. And that’s voter ID,” Clyburn said. “We are always for voter ID. We are never for disproportionate voter ID.”

The Democratic leader then explained that if a state allows certain forms identification for another purpose, it should be acceptable for voting as well.

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“When you tell me that you got to have a photo ID and a photo for a student or activity card is not good but for a hunting license it is good, that’s where the rub is,” he said.

While Clyburn now says that he has always supported a voter ID requirement, which is widely supported by the public, his past comments indicate otherwise. In October, he tweeted that voter ID laws, long lines at polling sites, and closed polling locations were “all voter suppression.”

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Clyburn has also been critical of Manchin and his proposed voting reform compromise. After the West Virginia Democrat suggested stripping away some of the more controversial elements of his party’s For the People Act in favor of something that might be more palatable to conservatives, Clyburn rejected the attempt at a compromise.

“I’m insulted when he tells me that it’s more important to maintain a relationship with the minority in the U.S. Senate than it is for you to maintain a relationship with the minority of voters in America,” Clyburn told HuffPost in April. “That’s insulting to me.”