With mid-term elections approaching, the NAACP’s initiatives to ensure voter equality are in high gear. During the recent United States Senate Committee hearing on the Voting Rights Act, the NAACP’s presence was readily apparent and felt when Francys Johnson, President of the Georgia State Conference of NAACP Branches, testified before the committee.
Mr. Johnson spoke of voter discrimination in Georgia, both past and present, and the undeniable need for amendments to the current Voting Rights Act. The amendments would ensure rules and regulations implemented by states and election commissions do not have a discriminatory effect on minorities.
Mrs. Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, echoed Mr. Johnson’s sentiment, and further testified that the increased incidence of voter discrimination in the past year warrants the amendment of the Voting Rights Act to include protections for minorities under Sections Four and Five.
The Legal Department is also taking action to ensure voter equality and access in the upcoming mid-term elections. The Association has launched The Vote Watch Project. The Project enables members to report and combat voter suppression. By utilizing the information provided in these reports, the NAACP has taken action in Illinois, South Carolina, Florida, and Wisconsin to ensure that all eligible citizens are able to exercise their right to vote.
Additionally, the NAACP’s Legal Department and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice prepared voter guides for each of the fifty states. The purpose of these guides is to inform the public of voter registration deadlines, voter registration requirements, early voting laws, absentee ballot deadlines, voter identification laws, and restoration of voting rights laws. By doing this, the NAACP is ensuring citizens across the country are well-informed of their rights and what is required of them at the polls.
Anyone can assist the NAACP in the fight to end voter discrimination. Any individual that has knowledge of voter discrimination, adverse polling practices or regulations can report the conduct to the NAACP by filling out the provided form here. Complaints may also be reported to email@example.com or (410)-580-5114. The NAACP will investigate the claim and take the appropriate actions to ensure that voter discrimination does not occur.
Christopher Smith, NAACP Legal Law Fellow