As the political debate surrounding voter ID laws spreads across the country from Texas to Tennessee, the NAACP has announced that it is banding together with several groups to organize a series of nationwide protests to bring awareness to the mainstream.
New laws in states like Kansas, Tennessee and Wisconsin require voters to have specific types of photo ID that advocates say Blacks, Latinos, disabled, elderly and poor people are less likely to have, thus inhibiting them from casting votes. Advocates also argue that many other provisions of the laws that reduce the number of early voting days and institute tougher laws on collecting registrations work to disproportionately exclude minorities and poor people from the polls.
Speaking in New York City with Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and other community leaders, NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous called the laws, the "greatest assault on voting rights, happening right now, that we have seen since the dawn of Jim Crow," according to the Associated Press.
The series of nationwide rallies, called Stand For Freedom, will take place on Dec. 10, United Nations Human Rights Day, and are aimed at informing the public on a subject that some say has been restricted to political circles.
Also taking up the charge against these laws is the Congressional Black Caucus. The group is planning a nationwide tour to address the issues surrounding new voter ID laws as well as raising awareness about redistricting. In addition, Democrats from the House of Representatives wrote to state lawmakers asking them to oppose the voter ID laws.
Still, the laws have gained tremendous support from some who say they are necessary to eliminate voter fraud.
"I'm not sure how much fraud they think is acceptable," Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, told the Associated Press. "The U.S. has a long history of voter fraud, and it could make the difference in a close election."
What do you think: Are the voter ID laws aimed at preventing fraud or excluding minority voters?
(Photo: Jamie Rose/Getty Images)