Ending voter suppression ahead of 2016

Over at MSNBC.com, SEF Chairman Ben Jealous and NAACP LDF Deputy Director Ryan Haygood write about the impact of voter suppression laws in 2014:

Ending voter suppression ahead of 2016

For far too many Americans, voting became more difficult or, in some cases, impossible in 2014.

In Texas, Imani Clark, a Black state college student and client of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the lawsuit that declared Texas’s strict voter ID law unconstitutional, was unable to vote with her student ID as she had in the past. Thousands of other students like Imani were also disenfranchised. In Alabama, a 92-year-old great-grandmother was disfranchised by the secretary of state’s last-minute determination that a photo ID issued by public housing authorities is not acceptable ID for voting. She had previously voted with a utility bill.

These were familiar stories in each of the 14 states with restrictive voting laws that took effect for the first time during this election season. The new laws include strict photo ID requirements, significant reductions to early voting, limits on same-day registration, and more. All had two things in common: They were reactionary responses to changing demographics and had a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

Read the full op-ed at MSNBC.com.