The NAACP hopes that international pressure will help to reverse legislation in 31 U.S. states that has changed access to voting. Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP, has called new voter ID laws a “massive attack on voting rights.” The group is scheduled to speak in front on the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva next week. NPR reports:
The NAACP and other groups also are fighting other election changes enacted by states, such as restrictions placed on third-party groups that register new voters and the reduction of early voting periods. Both measures traditionally have helped increase minority voter turnout.
The United Nations has no authority over American states, of course. And the international organization has often been pilloried by U.S. conservatives concerned about American deference to other nations.
But the NAACP is hoping to exert international pressure on states in the same way it did during the civil rights movement of the 1940s and 1950s, when the NAACP sought the U.N.’s support in combating Jim Crow laws and lynchings in the South.
“The power of the U.N. on state governments historically is to shame them and to put pressure on the U.S. government to bring them into line with global standards, best practices for democracy,” NAACP President Benjamin Jealous told reporters Thursday. “There are plenty of examples — segregation of the U.S. to apartheid in South Africa to the death penalty here in the U.S. — of global outrage having an impact.”
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