January 16, 2006
Could a new state law put a damper on the dream? It’s a simple enough idea: if you go to the polls in Georgia you need a proper ID to cast your ballot. But that idea is creating a political firestorm. People opposed to it say it unfairly targets minorities. News 12 has the latest on one group that hopes a local protest will send a message to Atlanta.
NAACP leaders want to lend their voices to what they hope will become a statewide protest.
“The constitution says everyone is entitled to vote,” said Lowell Greenbaum, Democratic Party Chairman.
And thirty-one years after those rights were guaranteed, NAACP leaders now believe a new bill in Georgia’s legislature is challenging that right. Now they’re fighting back.
“The Georgia NAACP stand in Augusta today to say to Georgia and to all of those who would pass this bill that we are prepared to use all of our resources available,” said Edward Dubose, NAACP President.
The issue is the voter ID bill, something republicans hope will prevent voter fraud. Opponents, most democrats, say it only suppresses the right to vote.
“The NAACP is asking the governor and those that chose to push this bill through, we believe this bill is discriminatory, unnecessarily burdensome, unconstitutional and downright wrong,” Dubose said.
The hotly contested measure was passed by senate lawmakers last year and then struck down by a federal court after it was considered an unconstitutional poll tax. Critics call it racist because it discriminates against the poor who can’t afford a proper ID. The latest bill provides free ID’s for everyone, but these leaders point out another problem.
“The key concern is what have you done to address absentee ballots which goes in without ID? When predominantly African Americans go to the polls, what’s the message?” Dubose said.
“To our friends in the general assembly, I offer this bit of advice, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging,” said Congressman John Barrow, Representative of the 12th district.