Civil rights veterans led by Rev. Al Sharpton, Harlem congressman Charles Rangel, and the NAACP announced a new campaign against new voter fraud laws that could prevent five million Americans from casting their ballots next year.
Stand For Freedom, the new coalition, will hold a national day of action Dec. 10 – also United Nations Human Rights Day – to protest the laws. In New York alone, they hope to gather 10,000 people outside the offices of the Koch brothers, octogenarian billionaires and major donors to conservative activist groups.
“Many old people don’t want the hassle [of getting an ID] and young people don’t feel like they need it without a car,” Rangel, 81, said outside City Hall. “They are looking to go after anyone President Obama depended upon to get elected. It’s right out in the open! It’s the Ku Klux Klan without hoods!”
Recently, many state legislatures have passed or introduced laws attempting to prevent allegedly widespread voter fraud. Though they vary in scope from state to state, the majority of them demand voters present photo identification at the ballot box, ban same-day voter registration, or end early voting.
Pointing to the miniscule number of actual recorded instances of voter fraud in recent years, the activists charge this is an attempt by the GOP to disenfranchise minority, elderly, and poor voters who played a large part in President Obama’s 2008 election. Already, the laws look set to have a big impact on next year’s presidential race: the states who have already passed them comprise 63% of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win.
“The generations ahead of us had to face Jim Crow. We have to face his son, James Crow Jr., Esq,” Rev. Sharpton, who, like Mr. Rangel, was on the Selma to Montgomery marches organized by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1965. “We know this is about an election, but it’s also about a selection. Those of us who had to fight for the right to vote, we now have to fight for the right to maintain it.”