NAACP Claims Voter Restrictions A ‘Direct Response’ To Increased Minority Participation

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December 5, 2011 6:00 a.m.

The efforts of various state legislatures to make it more difficult for people to vote are a direct response to the high levels of political participation by African-American voters in the 2008 election and the growth of communities of color shown in the U.S. Census, the NAACP claimed in a report released on Monday.

The “burgeoning political power” of minority voters, “has engendered a backlash,” according to the report.

“In the face of far-reaching demographic and electoral trends revealing unprecedented minority political mobilization in America, an assault on voting rights accelerated in 2011,” the report states. “In this year alone, over a dozen states imposed obstacles to voting at each key stage of the democratic process.”“These restrictive voting measures will have a disproportionate impact on minority, low-income, disabled, elderly, and young voters, and threaten to substantially undermine the political strength already harnessed by minority communities during the 2008 Presidential Election,” according to the report.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a speech last week that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division’s review of voting changes in Texas, South Carolina and Florida (all jurisdictions covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act) “will be thorough, fair, and fact-based.”

“These states bear the burden of showing that proposed changes are not intentionally discriminatory and will not have a retrogressive effect,” Perez said. “Where they meet this burden, we will preclear the changes; where they do not meet this burden, we will object.”

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