By Bascott O’Connor
On Friday, July 9th, the BET News presented “State of Our Union: Vice President Kamala Harris, a one-on-one interview of Harris by Soledad O’Brien.” The 20-minute program included the topics of vaccine hesitancy, police reform, and voting rights.
On the matter of voting rights, O’Brien asked Harris, “I read you specifically asked to take this on. Why?” Among her responses, Harris stated that there are 380 laws aimed at suppressing the vote. O’Brien didn’t probe, there was no follow-up. She should have asked Harris to give examples of laws that suppress the vote. When Harris said, “It’s almost impossible to vote,” O’Brien should have said, “Almost impossible? That’s quite an accusation Vice President Harris. Please back that up with some evidence.”
The segment of the voting rights discussion that has drawn the most national media attention is Harris’ claim that the voter ID requirement will impair rural voters’ access to voting. She said, “In some people’s mind, that means, well, you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove that you are who you are.” Harris continued, “There are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t — there’s no Kinko’s, there’s no Office Max near them.”
I randomly selected four rural towns in America to see if photocopying services are available.
- Clinton, Arkansas has a population of 2,602. In Clinton, there are copying services at The Best Western Hillside Inn. The Van Buren County Library provides a MobilePrint service.
- The Hubbardston Public Library in Hubbardston, Massachusetts, a town of 4,382 residents has a photocopier and charges 10 cents per copy.
- Kaycee, Wyoming has a population of 263. The Kaycee Branch library has both copy machines and fax machines.
- Harris may be right about Mineral, California. The small town of 123 residents perhaps does not have photocopying. Mineral, has the Mineral Lodge which has a Gift & Ski Shop, a saloon, a café, and The Country Store, but no website to determine what services are available. The library in Mineral is temporarily closed. Although Chester, California is 29 miles away and has several photocopying services available.
Perhaps “Journalist” Soledad O’Brien could have followed up by asking the Vice President if she is aware of how many essential daily functions and recipients of government benefits require an Identification card. Then as a follow-up sharing the list above with the audience.
I don’t know about you – but that would have been a “Harris cackle” worth the wait to hear.