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Lining Up

For the first time, a new report, released today by Advancement Project and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, comprehensively analyzes the experience of voters of color in the 2012 election. Entitled Lining Up: Ensuring Equal Access to the Right to Vote and authored by University of Baltimore School of Law professor Gilda R. Daniels, the report highlights the extensive efforts of the two civil rights organizations, from the courtroom to the streets, to combat restrictive voter ID laws, challenges at the polls, deception and intimidation, “show-me-your-papers” proof-of-citizenship practices, unacceptably long lines, and the troubling use of provisional ballots. The joint report also details the current, post-Shelby landscape of the right to vote, in which states with the worst records of voter discrimination no longer have to submit voting changes for federal review. Many of those states, previously covered by Section 5, have already acted swiftly to push new voting restrictions that disproportionately target people of color. Without the full protections of Section 5’s review process, the multi-pronged approach to voter protection employed in 2012 by the two groups is now more critical than ever. Those 2012 actions – including voter education campaigns, direct advocacy to election administration officials, poll monitor trainings, deploying staff and volunteers to the polls during early voting and on Election Day to resolve problems encountered by voters, and steadfast litigation – are a preview of the work that must be taken on, and redoubled, in more states to combat the new flood of discriminatory voting changes and barriers to democratic participation.

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