As partisan clashes over election laws intensify in Texas and other GOP-controlled states, political comedian Tim Young is calling on lawmakers to back his plan to help Americans obtain valid identification cards.
Young, a SiriusXM radio personality, unveiled plans this week to launch “IDs Across America,” envisioned as a volunteer organization that will help would-be voters with the application process. The comedian said he was motivated to take action because politicians have done little to address the problem, which has emerged as a hot-button issue in nationwide debates over election-related legislation.
“I’m tired of the rhetoric that there are thousands of disenfranchised voters because they can’t obtain a voter ID,” Young said in an interview with Fox News. “It just seems like there are so many politicians and so many people cashing in on that line, but no one’s actually doing anything to fix the problem, and it’s a very simple problem to fix.”
Democratic lawmakers have opposed efforts by Republicans to enact voter ID requirements, arguing that proposals limiting what types of identification are acceptable are too restrictive and effectively disenfranchise voters. Republicans say strict voter ID requirements are necessary to protect election integrity.
Democrats have been particularly critical of election bills in Texas and Georgia, with President Biden referring to the latter state’s recently passed bill as an example of “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.” This week, a group of Texas House Democratic lawmakers left the state and flew to Washington, D.C. to avoid participating in a special session to consider a GOP-backed election bill.
“The narrative has been that folks can’t obtain IDs,” Young said. “I’m not sure where the politicians were on this, why they were asleep on it, why a type of organization like this hasn’t come up before, but it’s time to wake up, and if you want stricter election integrity laws, everyone should be able to get an ID and have access to it and we’re just providing that.”
Democrats in Congress have backed the “For The People Act,” a sweeping federal bill that would overhaul election standards nationwide, as a check against bills passed by GOP-controlled legislature. A version of the bill, which included a voter ID requirement at the urging of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., failed in the Senate last month following a GOP filibuster.
Young said about 500 volunteers have signed up to aid the initiative since he first announced the idea earlier this week. The comedian said he is “getting close” to having volunteers in all of the lower 48 states.
Young plans to launch an official website for the organization by Aug. 1 and is seeking to amass a base of more than 1,000 volunteers. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton expressed support for Young’s proposal.
The comedian said he considers his idea a bipartisan effort, though criticism of voter ID requirements has largely come from Democrats.
“I think every politician should endorse this. I don’t know why they wouldn’t,” Young said.