1:00pm October 28, 2011

Voter ID Laws Prompts Black Caucus Voter Education Tour


With a triple play of reapportionment, redistricting and shady voter ID laws threatening to disenfranchise many minority voters in 2012, the Congressional Black Caucus is planning another tour of the nation: this time combating what they view as voter suppression efforts in numerous states. New Voter ID laws are popping up across the United States while others are still set for passage in the near future.

CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver confirmed to Politic365 that the tour is, indeed, in the works. Even House Members outside the CBC with constituents likely to be impacted by new Voter ID laws voiced enthusiastic support.  “That’s a great idea,” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) told Politic365 recently following a series of votes in the House.

“We want to make sure the issue is widely known,” explained Cleaver. “The most important thing is to expose the American public to the dangers of trying to intentionally or unintentionally pushing people away from the ballot box.  Just as we were successful in obtaining a front row seat for urban joblessness during our tour this summer we think we can and will do the same thing regarding voter suppression.”

When asked if they would try to register people to vote during the tour Cleaver noted that “… there are going to be a number of other components to it.”

No word on who or what organization would be helping with that “component,” but all bets are on the usual partners for this type of effort, from the NAACP and the National Action Network to younger outfits like Rock the Vote, Hip Hop Caucus and Color of Change.

In the meantime, 34 states have already introduced legislation requiring new so-called voter ID laws.  Five states – Wisconsin, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, have already passed them.  Georgia and Indiana already have strict photo identification requirements in place.  The CBC is not buying it – with Members in many of these states, the Caucus charges that GOP-controlled legislators are simply engaging in voter suppression and hyper-partisan plays.

As reported in Politic365 earlier this week, Caucus Members met with Attorney General Eric Holder for an hour and 45 minutes – the first such session with him in almost two years.  But, it was tightly controlled to avoid the AG commenting or reacting in any way to pending cases regarding voter suppression issues.  Members in both the CBC and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus expressed concern to Holder over the new voter ID laws.

In early October, New York University Law School’s Brennan Center released a report claiming that over 5 million voters could be effected by laws now on the books or ready for passage in time for the 2012 elections.  Even though the CBC’s tour regarding voter suppression and education is in the very early stages, using the previous CBC Jobs For the People Tour from this summer as a model could garner a lot of attention onto the issue.  We’ll see: voter ID laws are not as sexy and pressing an issue for many as unemployment is at the moment. But, it can be just as important when considering the long term ramifications.

About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is an opinion journalist, comms expert and political analyst focused on justice reform policy. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of Black members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke was a staffer for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Director of Communications for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). She has had a very diverse career in politics and media and appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin, Hardball and Up on MSNBC, WVON in Chicago, WURD in Philadelphia and WOL and WHUR in Washington, D.C. She is currently the Managing Editor of Politic365 and a contributing writer for TheRoot and NBC Black where she writes opinion and analysis. Additionally, Ms. Burke has been a contract photographer for Associated Press since 2004. She has authored three books of photography including two on President Obama's 2008 campaign for the presidency and one with Marvel Comics publisher Stan Lee. Ms. Burke was born in the Bronx, New York and grew up on Long Island. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. Here e-mail is: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke. Instagram: LVB325.



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  1. ljb

    Isn't it a law in most states to carry a license when driving? Don't most people who leave the house have some form of id? Have you EVER met someone who just simply refused to carry an ID (and you still thought they were the type of sane person that should be voting)? So WTHeck is the problem with requiring IDs to ensure people don't vote twice or vote illegally? It seems like everyone against voter id laws want to merely ensure voter fraud persists.

    Its true Republicans often have the nefarious intent of supressing the vote of their opponents, but if Democrats have to rely on the vote of societal pariahs who weirdly refuse to have id, illegal immigrants, or fraudulent voters, what does this say about their party? If you can't convince average Americans that your message is better than your opponents, then perhaps your message isn't.

    (please don't reply with the garbage that your 85 yr old grandma doesn't carry id, or a cousin who is a staunch believer in privacy rights doesn't think he needs to, or that black people are too poor to afford an id. Your 85 yr old grandma lived through more than any of us and is probably the most likely to have an id, your cousin is a weirdo who is going to vote for whatever party is going to legalize marijuana, and anyone who is too poor to buy an id should be forced to move to albania, where the average income is around $300 per month and everyone is required to have an id which costs about $15. If they can do it so can you.)

  2. Powerball

    You suck as a smart think you are smart individual.,.The 91 year old ladt went there with a voters ID a drivers liscense and they still turned her away saying she had to go fetch her marriage cerytificate for over 75 years ago to prove now that her name is what it is and she has been voting for over 70 years, have a picture ID and voters Reg Card. Why are you making excuses and lousey ones at best about fraud and when they took a look at fraud ove rthepast 10-20 years only 86 out of millions of voters there was any indication of fraud..so that logic of yours go out the friggin window..

  3. [...] the piece I wrote on the upcoming CBC tour regarding the new voter ID laws and voter suppression http://politic365.com/2011/10/28/voter-id-laws-prompt-black-caucus-tour-for-survival/ Posted by lauren victoria burke at 12:25 [...]

  4. I'm in Dallas, TX and I'm very fired up about this Voter ID suppression in Texas. I've recently become a Deputy Registrar to register people to vote in Dallas county. But as of 1.1.2012 I will need to get fully trained again because of the new law. This law reeks of the Poll Tax. We just have to get the word out early.

  5. Nath Taylor

    The Democrats are covering up Human Trafficking in exchange for illegal votes. It is the law requires you to have ID. If you come to America illegal, stand in line and wait your turn and follow our laws. Illegals think they are above the law, but they are just being used by Politicians. When the Politicians finish with them they will be trashed!

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