NAACP is leading the charge to protect voting rights. As the United States heads into a election year there are reports of voting struggles bubbling up. Many issues are revolving around new regulations and stipulations placed on voters.
The NAACP is not the only group opposing these laws. The U.S. Justice Department, for example, has opposed some of them.
Four leaders from the NAACP and two citizens who say their voting rights have been threatened by laws requiring would-be voters to produce identification made statements before the meeting. Thirty states have voter identification laws (a Wisconsin judge ruled this week that the state’s law is unconstitutional), and seven of them, not including Wisconsin, were enacted last year.
The NAACP has been campaigning against what it sees as a wave of new Voter ID laws being pushed by states, and it released a report in December reviewing laws that have been passed in recent years. Proponents of such laws say they are necessary to prevent identity fraud at the polls and maintain that Americans should be used to the concept of having to produce identification to perform certain tasks, such as applying for a job or buying a home.
This week Hillary Shelton, the NAACP’s Washington bureau director and senior vice president for advocacy stated during a radio call in: “In most of the cases that we’re talking about, when you think about going to cash a check, going to catch an airplane or things along those lines, number one, there are many, many other options you can utilize to be able to do it. As a matter of fact, if anyone’s really interested in the other options for even being able to board an airplane, you can go on the website, the federal government agencies, the FAA, and take a look at many of the different types of identification or even what happens if you don’t have identification to be able to get on that plane, anyway. So, indeed, I think they missed the point there.
But the bottom line is that voting is different from all of those things. All those issues are pretty much things that we’d like to be able to do. They are not fundamental rights. The right to vote is something that should not be obscured by anything. If people are eligible, we know we have a very tragic history of contrived blockages to the polling places that go way back, especially for African-Americans.
For us to be able to move, in this day and age, to put in place obstacles that would prevent 25 percent of eligible African-Americans from being able to cast that vote and exercise that franchise, it is very disturbing.
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