September 25th is National Voter Registration Day

Press

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In four days, over 1100 organizations will come together in a national wide call for voter registration.

Next Tuesday, September 25th, is National Voter Registration Day and it’s a coordinated effort between community leaders, celebrities, and volunteers to inform people about voting opportunities and get them registered before deadlines.

With less than fifty days until the presidential election, civil rights groups are ramping up efforts to increase voter registration, especially in light of recent attempts by some states to restrict voter rights.

“We are declaring a state of emergency on voting rights in the United States,” National Urban League president Marc Morial said in a phone conference yesterday. “Millions of people could be disenfranchised by restrictive voter laws.”

Several civil rights, faith-based, and social justice organizations, including the Advancement Project, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, and National Congress of American Indians, were on the call.

The University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis recently released a study showing that 17 states, including Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, have put strict photo ID requirements in place, request photo IDs but have provisional alternatives, or have passed a photo ID law that is not yet in effect.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school did an analysis that found 25 percent of blacks and 16 percent of Latinos do not own government issued photo IDs. This includes passports, driver’s licenses, state ID cards or military IDs. The analysis compares those numbers to just nine percent of whites who don’t own the same forms of ID.

NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous also lists taxes on same day registration, early voting, and voter registration drives as another hurdle in getting eligible voters to the polls.

“What you see is that each one of them has a disproportionate impact on the black community, on communities of color, more generally, and on young voters,” Jealous said during the phone conference.

“We want to inform people across the nation about the steps they need to take to ensure that their precious right to vote is protected,” Morial said as well.

Morial said the National Urban League is encouraging people to take the following steps:

Check your registration status
Check the documentation needed to register and to vote
Check the deadlines for registration and early/absentee voting
Check your state voter laws
Check your polling location and hours
The National Voter Registration Day website says about 700 local events and activities are planned for next Tuesday. To find a local event near you, just visit nationalvoterregistrationday.com and type in your zip code.

Also, to find out what your state’s voter identification requirements are, visit ncls.org.