Imagine turning up at the polls on Election Day, pulling out a utility bill, your student ID or that little card you received when you first registered to vote that’s been fraying in your wallet since the day it arrived in the mail and being turned away because you don’t have the state-sanctioned voter ID card required to cast your ballot. Or, what if you’ve always "taken your soul to the polls" after church services on the Sunday before Election Day, but learn at the last moment that it’s no longer an option and you can’t get out of work that Tuesday to vote?
These and other scenarios could actually happen to millions of voters in 2012, especially African-Americans and other minorities, college students and low-income people, thanks to new voting rules that may be in place in several states around the nation in 2012, civil rights advocates warn.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Illiniois) said at a press conference Monday that the average person has ignored conversations about the issue because their expectation is that they’ll be able to vote as they always have. The changes will come as a particular shock to the minorities and young adults who turned out so enthusiastically for President Obama in 2008.
Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the advocacy organization, the Advancement Project, said that at the start of the new year her organization and other advocacy groups will launch massive efforts to educate voters about the voting laws in their states and their rights, but also how to handle any efforts, like robocalls, that might be made to suppress the Black vote.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, on Monday accused Democrats of distorting the issue to raise money. Like most conservatives, he says that voter fraud is widespread, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
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(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)