Wave of Restrictive Voting Laws Prompts Federal Probes, Grassroots Activism Ahead of 2012 Elections
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is vowing to ensure the protection of voting rights in more than a dozen states that have recently enacted controversial laws. Supporters of the laws, backed largely by Republicans, say they are meant to stamp out voter fraud. "When people move on their fears, they make bad law," says NAACP CEO Ben Jealous, co-author of a new report that argues the new laws amount to a coordinated and comprehensive assault on minorities’ voting rights at a time when their numbers in the population and at the ballot box have increased. Students, former felons and elderly voters may also be impacted. On Saturday, the NAACP helped organize a voting rights march in New York, starting at the offices of Koch Industries in order to highlight how billionaire conservative financiers David and Charles Koch have financed the push for voter ID laws. We also speak with Bob Edgar, a former Pennsylvania congressman and the president and CEO of Common Cause. He supports pending legislation, the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, as a way to reaffirm the nation’s commitment to voting rights and free and open elections. "We’re the only nation in the world that has federal elections without federal rules for election," Edgar says.
Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause and a former Pennsylvania congressman.
Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of NAACP. He’s the co-author of a new report, "Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America."