Politics

NAACP taking grievances against voter ID laws to the UN, claiming discrimination

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is taking its racial grievances against America to the United Nations this weekend.

On Saturday the NAACP will offer evidence of what it considers a coordinated effort to disenfranchise black and Latino voters in a racist attempt to limit minority voting.

According to the civil rights group, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and NAACP Legal Defense Fund voting rights attorney Ryan Haygood will present findings from their recent report “Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America.”

“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,” Jealous said in a statement. “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.”

The report alleges that there is a systemic effort to restrict the number of minority voters this election cycle, via new state measures such as enhanced voter identification laws, tougher residency requirements and provisions that put limits on voting periods and restrictions on voting registration drives.

“In all, 14 states have passed 25 various measures designed to restrict or limit the ballot access of voters of color, threatening to disfranchise millions of people, a disproportionate number of whom are people of color,” the report reads. “Since the ratificaton [sic] of the 15th Amendment and, later, the Voting Rights Act, we have been summoned to fight to protect the power and potential of the African-American vote from attempts to undermine the promise of democracy.”

The NAACP claims that states passing restrictive voting laws tended to have high population growth among “people of color.” (RELATED: Full coverage of the NAACP)

Prior to their presentation at the U.N., the NAACP and supporters — comprised largely of civil rights and labor groups — will hold a “Stand for Freedom” march in New York City, which will commence in front of the Koch Brothers’ office and culminate in a rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the United Nations headquarters.

The rally will include leaders and members from the NAACP, the SEIU 1199, the National Action Network, the National Urban League, the United Federation of Teachers, the N.Y. Civil Liberties Union, the National Council of La Raza, the Advancement Project, the Asian-American Legal Defense Fund “and others” to “protest the attack on voting rights throughout the country.”

“The so-called problem of voter fraud is a myth, the percentage is minuscule,” said George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU in a statement. “These new laws are suddenly being pushed after the historic 2008 presidential election when Americans headed to the polls in droves. Now as we prepare for the 2012 elections, it’s difficult to believe that this isn’t some kind of ploy to keep poor people, working people, or people of color away from the polls.”

The Guardian reported Monday that the NAACP also plans to send a delegation to Geneva in March to seek assistance from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

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