Huffpost Black Voices

NAACP: Voter Rights Violated By Restrictive Measures Targeting Minorities

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NAACP VOTING RIGHTS
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The 2008 presidential election was historic in a number of ways. Not only did the country elect its first black president, but minority voters turned out in record numbers. However, as the nation faces the next election, several of the same states that saw unprecedented participation by blacks and Hispanics are enacting voting restrictions that may weaken the minority influence in 2012.

A new NAACP report has uncovered a "coordinated and comprehensive assault" against voting rights, revealing a direct connection between increasing voter turnout within the African American and Latino community and the magnitude of restrictive measures to block those voters' access to the polls. The study found 14 states passed a total of 25 actions that target minority voting rights.

"These new tactics will weaken the electoral strength of communities of color, students and the poor," NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jeolous reportedly said during a press conference call. "[And] attack the very electoral strength that made possible the nation's first black president.

The report deemed the measures an attempt to "block the vote" as a result of increased levels of minority political participation and growth of communities of color. Jealous said the NAACP plans to reach out to secretaries of state, members of Congress, the Department of Justice and the United Nations.

According to the study, four of the 14 states that passed restrictive voting laws in 2011, including Texas, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina, also demonstrated the largest growth in black population in the past decade, while three (South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee) had the highest growth in their Latino communities.

The 2008 presidential election had the most diverse voter participation in U.S. history, with blacks making up 12.1 percent, Hispanics 7.4 percent and Asians 2.5 percent of the 131 million people who voted. This result was largely due to the increase both in the number and turnout rates of eligible minority voters.

But this trend may not continue in 2012, as the civil rights group says states have employed measures that tighten voter registration requirements, reduce early or absentee ballott voting opportunities and restrict voter registration drives, which minority communities rely heavily on.

In the report, the NAACP expressed it's goal to raise awareness of this growing trend of infringing upon voter rights.

"We have created this report as a tool to sound the alarm," the study says. "To inform voters, and to initiate a campaign to protect the free and equal exercise of our right to vote."

Check out video below of Huff Post Black Voices senior reporter Trymaine Lee discussing voter ID laws on MSNBC.

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