Sorry for 'Hurtful Way Explanation of Data Came Across,' Does Not Recant Analysis That Minorities Somehow Benefit From Photo ID Restrictions at Polling Places Because They 'Die First' Before Becoming Elderly
Tanner to Meet Elderly Minority Congressman Conyers at Hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday Morning...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2007, 6:01pm PT  

John Tanner, chief of the DoJ Civil Rights Division's Voting Unit, has not yet been fired. But he is sorry:

I want to apologize for the comments I made at the recent meeting of the National Latino Congreso about the impact of voter identification laws on elderly and minority voters. I understand that my explanation of the data came across in a hurtful way which I deeply regret. The reports of my comments do not in any way accurately reflect my career of devotion to enforcing federal laws designed to assure fair and equal access to the ballot. I am honored to have the opportunity to do this work, and I am honored to serve with the dedicated employees of the Voting Section who, day in and day out, work hard to protect the rights of all Americans under the Voting Rights Act.

The apology, sent last Friday, becomes public on the eve of his testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 10am ET, and just after the DNC joined many others early today in demanding he be "immediately fired." Tanner's sorry note was sent to a few folks just after Senator Barack Obama called on the Acting Attorney General to fire him. Several others have followed suit since.

Paul Kiel, who notes that "Tanner does not recant his analysis that voter ID laws actually discriminate against whites, but does apologize that his 'explanation of the data came across in a hurtful way,' has the scoop on the apology. It was sent to some of the attendees at the National Latino Congreso earlier this month where The BRAD BLOG video-taped and reported his objectionable, and incorrect, comments on restrictive Photo ID laws he's approved at the DoJ.

He had claimed such laws were just fine by him since, though they may disenfranchise some elderly voters, "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."