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Rand Paul On Voter ID: 'It’s Offending People'

AP Photo / Susan Walsh

“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Paul told the Times. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

The interview took place in Memphis, Tenn., where Paul was attending the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting. Before the RNC event, Paul sat down for a talk about voting rights, education, and poverty with a group of black pastors.

Republican officials in a number of states have in recent years pushed for and passed voter ID measures, which they say are necessary to stop election fraud. But evidence of election fraud is scarce, and opponents of voter ID efforts say the measures will have a disproportionate effect on turnout among poor and minority voters.

According to the Times, despite Paul's comments Friday, he did not "denounce voter ID laws as bad policy or take back previous statements in which he had said it was not unreasonable for voters to be required to show identification at the polls. He says these laws should be left to the states." Last month, during a sit-down interview with former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, Paul said he thought Republicans may have "over-emphasized" the issue of voter fraud.