As legal challenges to voter identification laws slowly wind their way through the courts, opponents of the controversial measures aren’t just sitting around waiting for judicial relief. They’re hitting the streets in a grassroots effort to make sure affected voters have the documents they’ll need to cast their ballots in November. “When you put Americans’ backs against the wall, we tend to rise and we tend to fight a little harder,” said John Jordan, an NAACP elections consultant in Philadelphia, where a new state law requires voters to have government-issued photo identification documents.
From Pennsylvania to South Carolina to Florida, a loose network of civic, religious, labor and civil rights groups are working to find, educate and register voters who might not meet eligibility requirements under a spate of new Republican-backed laws that opponents say create new barriers to voting in the name of stopping fraud.
With the election just six weeks away, early voting underway in most states and only a few days remaining for voters to register, the get-out-the-vote efforts have taken on increasing urgency. Whether it’s knocking on doors, passing out fliers, collecting petition signatures or driving voters to get the proper documents, volunteers are working furiously to counter the new laws that disproportionately impact the elderly, poor and minority voters.