Edna Griggs keenly remembers the anger and outrage she felt during the 2012 general election when she watched as African-American senior citizens were forced to wait in long lines in the Houston heat as they cued up to vote at the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center. A member of her local NAACP chapter, Griggs says she was told that she couldn’t bring them water to drink or chairs to rest in. “A poll watcher approached me and said, ‘What are you doing?’ He told me I couldn’t do that. They thought we were trying to sway their votes by giving them water,” she said. “It was really sad to me because it was like a reflection of the stories I heard from my grandmother and mother when they had to pay to vote. It was a reflection of everything our people have gone through.”
Griggs is one of the plaintiffs in a NAACP lawsuit about new Texas voting identification laws, regulations that are considered by some civil rights and liberties groups as among the nation’s most restrictive.
Civil rights groups in that state, and others, fear that election officials and poll watchers, empowered by those new laws will ratchet up the level of discrimination against minority voters.
“We’ve had a serious problem with elected officials discriminating against Latino and African-American voters. It’s obvious that many officials cannot be expected to treat these voters fairly,” said Gary Bledsoe, an attorney and president of the Texas NAACP. “When you give them more power to reject black and Latino voters at the polls, that power will be exercised and the discrimination escalated.”
Full Article: Rules of the game: New laws tough for some voters – CNN.com.