Ben Jealous: Democrats, GOP Could Do More to Fight Voter ID Laws

NAACP president said not all Republicans support restrictive voter ID laws.

Posted: 09/13/2012 03:34 PM EDT
NAACP President Ben Jealous

Democrats and Republicans could do more to prevent the most restrictive voter identification laws from taking effect, said Benjamin Todd Jealous, the president of the NAACP.

In an interview with, Jealous said that both parties had taken some strides to combat the array of new voter ID laws that threaten to make it difficult for African-American and Latino voters to cast their ballots in the November election.

“The issue of voter ID laws are not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue,” Jealous said. “Each party could do more.”

Jealous said that, despite the fact that the restrictive voter ID laws were enacted in states with Republican-controlled legislatures and Republican governors, not all GOP leaders were in support of them.

“We have found that there are some Republican governors who understand this issue and who don’t want to be a part of efforts to restrict voting,” Jealous said. Specifically, he mentioned Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. “He has made it clear that he would veto any restrictive voter ID law.”

The NAACP has been one of the nation’s leading voices complaining against voter identification laws that have been enacted by legislatures in several states. 

Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington bureau and senior vice president for advocacy at the NAACP, said that the organization supports the use of some identification documents.

However, Shelton said, “there are dozens of ways to identify oneself that will not require a person to spend their resources and time to obtain overly restrictive and a conforming photo ID, and Virginia took some strides to eliminate the risks.”


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(Photo: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

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