(USA Features) House Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina said he’s always supported voter ID requirements despite describing them as a form of “voter suppression” last fall.
Clyburn’s apparent change of heart comes as moderate Dem Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is offering up voter ID measures as part of compromise language to major voting reform legislation already passed by the House without any Republican support.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Clyburn said he “absolutely” could back Manchin’s ID proposal.
“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,” he continued, Fox News reported.
Clyburn went on to say that if states require an ID for other purposes, that should be allowable for voting as well.
“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.
Requiring an ID to vote is widely supported by a vast majority of Americans, according to recent polling.
While Clyburn is now saying he backs Manchin’s ID proposal, in October tweeted that voter ID laws, as well as long lines at polling sites, and closed polling locations were “all voter suppression.”
Clyburn has also been critical of Manchin’s proposal in the past. In April, he rejected Manchin’s proposals to soften various provisions of the party’s For the People Act in favor of measures that conservative lawmakers may find more agreeable.
“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,” he added.