A Republican lawmaker in the Nevada legislature said Tuesday that proposed voter identification legislation couldn't have a disproportionate impact on minorities because President Barack Obama was elected to office.
State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who was previously in hot water over her comment that "young, hot little girls on campus" with firearms would deter potential sexual assailants, made the comment in a hearing about voter ID legislation.
Republicans support requiring a piece of government-issued photo identification to vote because they say it would deter fraud, while Democrats oppose it because such laws make it more difficult for minorities, students, seniors and the disabled to cast a ballot.
Fiore rejected that criticism at the hearing.
"We're in 2015 and we have a black president, in case anyone didn't notice," Fiore said. "So the color and the race issue, I think it's time that we put that to rest."
She referred to her colleague Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Munford as "colored," rather than the preferred term "person of color."
"I can tell you the great respect I have for my peer for being the first colored man to graduate his college," she said.
Fiore also asked the Nevada director of the NAACP National Voter Fund "at what point do we stop using the race card to argue points?"
"This voter ID is for everybody, I think it's quite suppressive when you use the racial card as an opposition," she said.
Though there was no evidence of actual voter fraud in Nevada presented at the hearing, former Republican Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, testified that "we do have a voter impersonation problem across the country," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
When Angle was asked where her evidence of nationwide fraud derived, she said, "I do not have any examples that I know of," the Review-Journal reported.
After Republicans took full control of the state's government for the first time since 1929, they said that one of their first priorities would be passing voter ID legislation. Nevada's Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has previously said that he supports such laws, so any bill that is passed out of the legislature would likely be signed were it to reach his desk.
On Thursday, Sandoval's office told The Huffington Post that it was "premature" to say that he was likely to sign the voter identification legislation moving through the legislature.
“Protecting the integrity of the electoral process is of the utmost importance," spokeswoman Mari N. St. Martin said. "As with all legislation, the Governor will closely monitor any proposed bills as they move through the Legislature. However, it would be premature to comment on this specific bill at this early stage. If this bill reaches his desk, then the Governor will give it a thorough review.”
On Friday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider whether to hear a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which a federal appeals court upheld last fall. The Supreme Court previously issued a stay of that decision, preventing it from going into effect for November's midterm election.
This story has been updated to include comment from Sandoval's office.
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