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NAACP decries voting legislation at Raleigh conference

Posted March 24, 2012 4:53 a.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2012 10:10 a.m. EDT

— A gathering of civil rights activists in Raleigh Saturday criticized contemporary voting legislation as voter suppression efforts.

At the NAACP's 59th Southeastern Conference, leaders said state-by-state changes reverse gains made by the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlaws discriminatory practices aimed at black voters.

"What we're watching in the state of North Carolina and, in fact, across the country are efforts to suppress votes of progressive and African-American voters," said Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi state NAACP chapter. "Devices such as voter ID, eliminating early voting, eliminating same-day registration are creating barriers for individuals to exercise the right to vote."

Proposed legislation in North Carolina's proposed legislation would require voters to show photo ID, eliminate same-day registration and Sunday voting, and cut the time for early-voting by one week.

Supporters say the bills would ensure free and fair elections and help stop voter fraud.