Since rising to power in state houses across the country in the 2010 midterm elections Republican legislators have been attempting to make it harder to vote by introducing an onslaught of voter ID bills. These bills would require many to provide multiple forms of ID to cast votes, instead of relying on the systems that are currently in place. Although there has been no documented evidence of wide-spread voter fraud, many Republicans claim that the new measures are meant to secure the validity of the election process, but opponents think something far more sinister is at play: Suppressing the minority, mostly Democratic, vote.
To fight back against these voter ID laws, the NAACP has teamed up with other groups, such as the League of Women Voters to stop these measure from going into practice. This week the NAACP will petition the United Nations (UN) human rights council over what it feels are efforts to disenfranchise Black and Latino voters.
The NAACP contends that the America in the throes of a consciously conceived and orchestrated move to strip black and other ethnic minority groups of the right to vote. William Barber, a member of the association’s national board, said it was the “most vicious, co-ordinated and sinister attack to narrow participation in our democracy since the early 20th century”.
In its report, Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America, the NAACP explores the voter supression measures taking place particularly in southern and western states.
Fourteen states have passed a total of 25 measures that will unfairly restrict the right to vote, among black and Hispanic voters in particular.
The new measures are focused – not coincidentally, the association insists – in states with the fastest growing black populations (Florida, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina) and Latino populations (South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee). The NAACP sees this as a cynical backlash to a surge in ethnic minority voting evident in 2008.
They continue: The 14 states that have embarked on such measures hold two-thirds of the electoral college votes needed to win the presidency. Put another way, of the 12 battleground states that will determine the outcome of the presidential race, five have already cut back on voting rights and two more are in discussions about following suit.
Many feel these new voter ID laws are meant to dampen the impact Black and Latino voters will have on the upcoming 2012 presidential election. In 2008, Black and Latino voters overwhelmingly supported President Obama, and each group will be an important part of the election next year as each side–Republican and Democrat–struggles to capture the White House.
What do you think of the new voter ID laws? Do you think they are meant to suppress minority voters?