NAACP says new legislation disenfranchises voters

The NAACP is speaking out against new state voter legislation.

The group says the bills will disenfranchise voters and make it impossible for many people to cast their ballots.

"People in Michigan deserve better," said Rev. Dr. Wendall Anthony from the Detroit branch of the NAACP.

A call for action by Detroit NAACP and other community groups to shed light on what they say is an attempt to stifle certain groups from voting.

"The recent move in the legislature last night with then passing of HB 6066 is another attempt to diminish, disrespect and belittle the very essence of who we are as a nation," Anthony said. "They are designed to reduce the votes of young people, seniors, rural and urban citizens and people of color."

HB 6066 would require voters who show up without photo identification to cast a provisional ballot that could be dismissed if they don't prove their identity within 10 days after an election.

Supporters of the legislation say it will help reduce fraud. But community activists say the real "fraud" is the promotion of bills like HB 6066

"The fraud is in the perpetuation of these laws," said Anthony. "If you want to fix voting fix the machine, bring us into the 21st century, give us more poll workers, and fix the optical scanners."

Activists at Thursday's press conference are calling on Michigan's governor to halt these efforts.

"We are calling upon the senate to strike it down most definitely our governor to veto the bill," said Nabih Ayad, Arab American Civil Rights League.

But since the bill has only passed the house and has yet to be taken up in the Senate, a statement from Governor Rick Snyder's press secretary Anna Heaton says:

"The Governor doesn't make a decision on whether or not to sign a bill into law until he has a chance to review the final version, as passed by both chambers."

The call for Governor Snyder's veto comes after a federal judge issued an order this week to suspend a recount in Michigan of the Nov. presidential election

"The $10 million that some of the legislators are proposing to put in this bill, put it in an issue where there is really a problem," said Anthony. "The problem in Detroit and other cities where you don't have your vote accurately being counted."

Next week NAACP leaders say they will take their fight to Lansing to stage a protest

"It is time for people to stand up and say 'Hell no, we won't go for this,'" said Anthony.

State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons issued the following statement today regarding the House’s approval of legislation she introduced to ensure the security of elections in Michigan:

“I’m pleased to know that my colleagues in the House take the integrity of our state’s elections process as seriously as I do. The public deserves to have confidence in our system, and this proposal protects all voters by ensuring that a voter must prove they are who they say they are before their votes are counted.
“This legislation raises the bar without raising barriers. By waiving the fees for obtaining a birth certificate and a state ID card, we’re ensuring that all Michigan voters, regardless of income, can afford to obtain the documentation they will need to vote.”

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