Civil rights leaders at the NAACP annual convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday worried that dwindling African-American turnout in November could lead to the expansion of voter-identification laws that makes it harder for that community to vote in subsequent contests. In 2012, blacks turned out at a higher rate than whites for what is believed to be the first time in American history and helped re-elect President Obama. But in the prior midterm election, in 2010, blacks turned out at a much lower rate, and Republicans won control of the House of Representatives and many state and local offices.
Jotaka Eaddy, the NAACP’s voting rights director, told a panel on black turnout and voter suppression that “as a result we saw a wave of voter-suppression laws.” Eaddy said 22 states passed laws stiffening requirements on the identification needed to vote, a move that disproportionately affects poor and minority voters.
Added the Rev. William Barber, an NAACP board member: “We’re in a position to have 2010 all over again unless we do something about it.”