Defenders of the right to vote have a new high-tech weapon in their arsenal. A consortium of civil rights groups unveiled a smartphone application Thursday as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat what it called a nationwide effort to disenfranchise minority and youth voters. “The Election Protection smartphone app is a dynamic tool that will educate voters on their rights and empower them to take action so they can vote,” said Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, on a Thursday conference call with other organizations that developed the app. The free app is a “critical tool in our fight against voter suppression,” Arwine said, referring to recent state voter identification laws that aroused concerns among civil rights advocates. The tool gives voters the ability to digitally verify their registration status, find their polling place, encourage their friends and family to vote, fill out voter registration forms, and contact election protection officials, amongst other means to encourage voting.
Around the country, state governments have pursued voter identification laws and other legislative initiatives that civil rights activists — and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — have labeled a type of “poll tax” that suppresses the vote, similar to historical efforts to disenfranchise minority voters during the Jim Crow era. “There are efforts across the country to suppress the vote and these efforts have disproportionately affected Latino voters, which is why the NALEO educational fund is proud to join in this effort,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Appointed and Elected Officials Education Fund, on the call. Vargas said that a Spanish version of the app is expected to be released in coming weeks.
Full Article: Civil Rights Groups Release New Voter Protection App.