The Congressional Black Caucus used National Voter Registration Day to launch a new voter protection initiative. On Tuesday members of the CBC partnered with community leaders as well as local and state elected officials in a series of events throughout the country to unveil “For the People“.
The initiative draws attention to voter suppression efforts, like restrictive voter ID laws, that could prevent many minorities from voting in November. The goal of “For the People” is to provide information on what documents and procedures are needed to vote so that no eligible voter is turned away from casting a ballot.
“We concluded that the [Justice Department] was doing a pretty good job, that the courts seemed to be working in favor of supporting the interpretation that I think most people have of the Voting Rights Act: that you can’t come in and disrupt voting without a pre-clearance from the Justice Department in the states that historically have problems with minority voting,” Black Caucus chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said in an interview with the Huffington Post..
“We eventually came to the conclusion…that we should not just sit in the background and wait for the courts to act, that we were going to maximize voter registration and voter participation,” added Cleaver.
The CBC initiative also wants to ensure that constituents are educated on what the voter registration requirements are.
Cleaver told the Huffington Post that there have been close to three million home foreclosures since the last presidential election in 2008 and those people who have moved need to register to vote using their current address.
“They may not realize that they are no longer registered to vote. Once you move, once you change your address, it has to go on file with the election board. So we’ve got a lot of people who we are afraid won’t be able to vote because they’ll show up on Election Day and can’t prove their address,” he said.
The CBC has also implemented an online voter rights toolkit that highlights the information provided by the “For the People” initiative.
Follow Melissa Noel on Twitter at @noelknowswell.