Eric Holder on voter ID laws: ‘We call those poll taxes’

Speaking before the NAACP, Attorney General Eric Holder departed from his prepared speech on Tuesday, decrying voter ID laws that have been proposed in 10 states so far. Talking Points Memo reports:

"Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not," Holder said. "Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes."

Holder isn't the first to say such laws are racist. Benjamin Todd Jealous, CEO and president of the NCAAP, evoked the civil rights movement Monday, comparing the moment to "Selma and Montgomery times." Jealous unilaterally opposed the laws, saying, "Simply put, the NAACP will never stand by as any state tries to encode discrimination into law."

Mitt Romney will speak before the NAACP on Wednesday. Jealous, who posits that Romney could garner more votes from African Americans than John McCain did in 2008 when Barack Obama received 96 percent of the black vote, believes Romney's economic message has not played well so far.

"If he's going to pick up more support in the black community," Jealous told the Times, "he has to send a message that he's prepared to lead on issues that we care about." For Jealous, that means opposing voter ID laws.

Romney has so far been reticent to discuss the issue. Andrea Saul, a campaign spokeswoman, told the Times only, "Gov. Romney believes that every legal vote should count."