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Detroit NAACP rejects strict state voter ID law

The Detroit News

The Detroit Branch NAACP is blasting a strict voter identification proposal Michigan lawmakers approved this week.

Current state law allows registered voters to cast a ballot without photo identification if they sign an affidavit affirming their identity under threat of perjury. But the state’s Republican-led House on Wednesday night approved a measure in a three-bill package during the lame-duck session that would force voters lacking that to bring an ID to their local clerk’s office within 10 days of an election for their vote to count.

The move, which passed the House and now heads to the Senate, sparked objections from Democrats who argued the plan could disenfranchise properly registered voters and disproportionately affect lower-income and minority voters.

Detroit Branch NAACP officials argued the same in a statement Thursday, asking Gov. Rick Snyder to veto bills and calling the measure “another attempt to diminish, disrespect and belittle the very essence of who we are as a nation.”

“The constant move to create an issue of voter fraud where none exists eliminates the right to vote when our constitution insists that every individual is entitled to exercise his or her franchise,” the post read. “According to the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the right to vote is not to be ‘denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.’ Why then are legislators seeking to abridge, as well as to make subservient, certain citizens within our nation?”

The group also denounced the legislation including an $8 million appropriation to finance “election modernization, voter education and implementation” of the new rules, $2 million for free birth certificates and $1 million for a free ID program. The appropriations would effectively make the law immune to a voter referendum.

“If the state has $10 million to improve the process for voting, then let us take these dollars to spend in Detroit and other places for new voting machines, training, poll workers and optical scanners, which can reduce voting time, increase voter efficiency and increase accountability,” the NAACP said.