Some states across the country that saw unprecedented levels of electoral participation by blacks and Hispanics in the 2008 presidential election are being targeted for voting restrictions, according to a new report Monday by the NAACP.
The 67-page study released by the civil rights group found 14 states enacted a total of 25 measures that the NAACP said are tantamount to a coordinated assault on voting rights, with the African-American and other minority communities as the primary victims.
“These new tactics will weaken the electoral strength of communities of color, students and the poor [and] attack the very electoral strength that made possible the nation’s first black president,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous told reporters on a conference call Monday.
Jealous vowed that in addition to reaching out to secretaries of state, members of Congress and the Department of Justice, the group will also take its case to the United Nations “because both the impact in many instances and the intent seems to be to disenfranchise people of color disproportionally.”
Of the 14 states that passed restrictive voting measures in 2011, four had experienced the largest growth in black population in the last decade (Florida, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina), while three had the highest growth rates in their Latino communities (South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee), according to the study.
The NAACP called the measures a “block the vote” effort and charged they were a direct response to two recent developments: the unprecedented levels of political participation by black voters and others of color in the 2008 election, and the rapid growth of communities of color as seen in the 2010 census.
The restrictive measures adopted by the states include tightening requirements for voter registration or making the voter registration process “unnecessarily difficult,” increasing disfranchisement of people with felony convictions, reducing early or absentee ballot voting opportunities, as well as measures like photo ID requirements that create barriers to participation on Election Day.
“These vote-blocking e?orts impose disproportionate burdens on our society’s most vulnerable members, by exploiting socioeconomic disparities among voters based on income, vehicle and home ownership, foreclosure rates, education, and mobility—many socio-economic disparities that are closely correlated with race,” the report says.
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