State deadlines to register to vote are fast approaching.
Sept. 25 is National Voter Registration Day and civil rights groups are urging citizens to go to their local election offices to ensure that potential voters will be able to cast their ballots in the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Civic groups are calling upon people to register no later than Oct. 9, which is the deadline in many states for voters to be able to cast ballots in the upcoming election.
The urgency of registering and voting has been underscored by civil rights organizations, who have complained bitterly about the efforts in several states to alter voting laws in ways that they say will make it more difficult for African-Americans and Latinos to cast ballots in the 2012 election.
Some civic groups have estimated that the changes in the voter laws could result in more than 10 million Latino citizens not being able to cast ballots.
In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court has thrown a tough new voter identification law back to a lower court, saying that it would have to determine whether there was sufficient time for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to get the proper documents before November.
Civil rights groups and political scientists have expressed strong objections to the Pennsylvania law, saying it would result in a tenth of the state’s voters being unable to vote, many of these voters being African-Americans, elderly and college students.
Meanwhile, a panel of federal judges will hear closing arguments on South Carolina’s new ID law that requires voters to have photo identification at the polls.
In addition, in Ohio, early balloting has been an issue, where a federal judge blocked an effort to shorten the early-voting period.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, which has challenged what it considers highly restrictive voting laws, said that 17 states have adopted laws that might affect the results of this year’s presidential election.
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(Photo: AP Photo/David Goldman)