The NAACP will this week take what it says is a conscious attempt to “block the vote” on the part of state legislatures across the US to the United Nations.
It says that changes to voting laws are part of an orchestrated move to strip blacks and Latinos of the right to vote. William Barber, a member of the association’s national board, told the Guardian it was the “most vicious, co-ordinated and sinister attack to narrow participation in our democracy since the early 20th century.”
December 5, the NAACP released a new report revealing direct connections between the trend of increasing, unprecedented African American and Latino voter turnout and an onslaught of restrictive measures across the country designed to stem electoral strength among communities of color.
The report, Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America [PDF], details a plethora of voter suppression initiatives, most of them pushed in states with large African-American populations and where voting turnout has surged. The joint report by the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund examines scores of legislative proposals, ballot initiatives and voting laws enacted or proposed since the 2008 election.
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said:
“It’s been more than a century since we’ve seen such a tidal wave of assaults on the right to vote. Historically, when voting rights are attacked, it’s done to facilitate attacks on other rights.”
“It is no mistake that the groups who are behind this are simultaneously attacking very basic women’s rights, environmental protections, labor rights, and educational access for working people and minorities.”
“Voting rights attacks are the flip side of buying a democracy. First you buy all the leaders you can, and then you suppress as many votes as possible of the people who might object.”
“This assault — which is comprehensive in its reach and was launched in time to affect the 2012 elections — threatens to undermine the record levels of political participation witnessed during the historic 2008 Presidential Election, by blocking access to people of color, the poor, the elderly and the young,” the report warns.
The Brennan Center for Justice, based at New York University law school, estimates that the new measures [PDF] could bar as many as five million eligible voters from taking part in choosing the occupant of the White House next year.
The NAACP will this week present its evidence to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.
Through their web of political influence, billionaire political operatives Charles and David Koch have bought access to democracy’s lifeblood: free and fair elections. The Kochs have funded efforts to thwart 21 million Americans from voting and Koch dollars helped write and propose voting suppression bills in 38 states.
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