Monday, June 08, 2015

Perry Fires Back at Clinton on Voter ID

By Abby Livingston, The Texas Tribune

Rick Perry sharply fired back at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's criticism of his voter access policies as governor.

"I don’t know who she’s playing to, but she’s not playing to the people of Texas and I don’t think she’s playing to Americans that believe that the sanctity of the vote is really important and you need to have a photo ID to go vote," he said in an interview that aired on CNN Sunday. "It’s that simple."

On Thursday, Clinton accused Perry and other Republican governors of "a crusade against voting rights."

"Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of?” she said in Houston.

In response, Perry postured her comments as an affront to all Texans.

"I think we make it pretty easy in the state of Texas for people to vote," he said. "I don’t know what her beef is with the people of the state of Texas about voter ID, but I think she’s on the wrong side of the issue."

The 2013 Texas voter ID law, considered the toughest in the nation, was signed by Perry. It requires most citizens (some, like people with disabilities, can be exempt) to show one of a handful of allowable photo identifications before their votes can be counted.

To help cut down on long lines and generally make it easier to cast a ballot, Clinton proposed requiring at least 20 days of in-person early voting in every state, including on weekends and evenings. She also called for universal automatic voter registration of U.S. citizens when they turn 18.

In Texas, state law now allows in-person early voting for two weeks, and weekend voting is not always guaranteed, depending on the size of the county and other factors.

Perry on Sunday also alluded to Clinton's transient geographic base, saying she ought to address the matter first in "whichever state Hillary Clinton considers to be her home state."

It's an edgier tone for Perry, who in speech in April barely mentioned Clinton by name.

He made the comments while in Iowa for a presidential candidate forum. It's a place he is prioritizing politically.

"We’ll be here a lot," he said. "In 2011, the first time I even came to Iowa was … right after the straw poll. Being in the state, introducing yourself in a very personal way. I don’t care whether it’s two people or 2,000 people, if I get invited to come to Iowa, I’m going to be here.

"There may be somebody comes to Iowa more than I do, but if they do they better pack their lunch," he added.

Perry placed fifth in Iowa during his disastrous 2012 presidential. But he is working the retail politics circuit hard to re-introduce himself and capitalize on his interpersonal skills.

"We’re putting eggs in New Hampshire’s basket and South Carolina’s basket as well," he said. "But we intend to do very well here."

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

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