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Groups Mobilizing to Rebuff

Akeya Dickson | , NNPA News Service | 5/23/2012, 11:57 a.m.

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is working to provide much-needed guidance to voters who will be required to produce a photo ID. Its report, titled, "Got ID? Helping Americans Get Voter Identification," highlights successful voter empowerment efforts in Wisconsin, Tennessee and Colorado

The report suggests crosschecking Department of Motor Vehicles records against current voter registration rolls to notify individuals about the new voter ID requirements early enough to give them an opportunity to obtain new forms of identification.

"The Wisconsin Voices made an open records request with the DMV in Milwaukee and got access to 2.1 million records of people with driver's licenses that was cross-referenced with VAN, a voter contact and management system," according to the report. "The group matched 1.3 million records to help identify people who might need government-issued photo IDs."

Requiring a photo ID is not as race-neutral as many people believe. According to the Brennan Center, 25 percent of African American voters do not have a valid government-issued photo ID, compared with 8 percent of Whites.

In many Black communities, the church remains a rallying point for political empowerment.

"Historically if the church never got involved, there would be no Voting Rights Act of 1964. There would be no Brown vs. Board of Education," Rev. Otis T. Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. "We're not talking about specific candidates. I think that anyone who is of voting age, you need to be registered."