Monday, December 5, 2011

NAACP Targets Tougher Voter Qualifications

The NAACP launches a cam­paign Mon­day against new state laws that tighten voter qualifications. The NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tional Fund, two sep­a­rate orga­ni­za­tions, will release a report that finds the laws tend to sup­press minor­ity vot­ing — a trend the report says emerged after unprece­dented minor­ity turnout in the 2008 elec­tion and Cen­sus fig­ures that show peo­ple of color gain­ing a larger share of the population.

The groups will send the doc­u­ment to con­gres­sional lead­ers, state attor­neys gen­eral, sec­re­taries of state and the Depart­ment of Jus­tice in hopes of prompt­ing leg­is­la­tion to roll back laws requir­ing government-issued iden­ti­fi­ca­tion at the polls and reduc­ing the num­ber of early-voting days and other mea­sures they say could dis­en­fran­chise as many as 5 mil­lion vot­ers. The NAACP, the National Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Col­ored Peo­ple, will lead a march to United Nations head­quar­ter in New York on Sat­ur­day to draw atten­tion to the issue.

The report says 14 states have passed 25 laws in roughly the past year that put new restric­tions on vot­ers or vot­ing. It sug­gests the mea­sures are a reac­tion to the minor­ity voter turnout in the 2008 gen­eral elec­tion, in which African-American vot­ers had a higher turnout rate than white vot­ers, as well as a reac­tion to Cen­sus fig­ures that show that from 2000 to 2010, the white pop­u­la­tion grew by 1.2% while the black pop­u­la­tion grew by 12.3% and the His­panic pop­u­la­tion by 43%. State offi­cials have said the laws are meant to pre­vent voter fraud and make elec­tions more efficient.

Voter ID laws are at the heart of the debate, accord­ing to the report. The authors main­tain that such laws dis­pro­por­tion­ately tar­get minori­ties. The report says about 25% of black Amer­i­cans and about 16% of Lati­nos do not pos­sess government-issued photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, com­pared with 8% of whites.

Full Arti­cle: NAACP tar­gets tougher voter qual­i­fi­ca­tions –….

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