Friday, March 9, 2012

National Urban League: Voting is No. 1 issue for African Americans

Stephanie Siek, over at CNN is reporting on how the National Urban League report has named voting as No. 1 issue for African Americans

CNN is also reporting it's "In America" series is producing a documentary, airing in July, which looks at whether a flurry of new state laws are designed to suppress votes, or protect against voting fraud.

Theres more, CNN reports the National Urban League's 2012 State of Black America report said that African-Americans' march toward parity with whites in things like education, health, civic engagement and social justice continues to be a hard, unfinished journey. Released the day after Super Tuesday elections, the report puts special focus on voting rights for African-Americans.

The 2012 Equality Index score put black equality at 71.5%, just 0.1% over that of last year. The report uses a percentage index score that includes hundreds of factors like unemployment rate, median household income, possession of health insurance, high school graduation rates, and proportion of registered voters to the total eligible population, among others. A score of 100% would indicate a measurement in which black people were scoring equally with white people, while a score below 100% indicates categories in which blacks are scoring less. Scores higher than 100% indicate measurements in which blacks are scoring above whites.

Scores for civic engagement dropped the most out of the four categories measured, going from 101.8% in 2011 to 98.3% this year. Civic Engagement measures not only the number of registered voters and percentage of adults who actually voted, but also how many African-Americans participate in volunteer activities, how many are part of a union, how many are employed by the government, and the percentage who sign up for military reserve service.
The league blames the lower civic engagement index score in part on voting laws which it says unfairly restrict voter rights and disproportionately impact African-Americans. In particular it cites laws which mandate the presentation of photo ID or proof of citizenship in order to vote, and others that limit opportunities for early voting and for voter registration drives. The NAACP expressed similar concerns about such laws in a 2011 report.

Currently, 31 states require some form of ID in order to vote. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states in 2011 alone considered legislation that either created new requirements to show ID at the polls, or placed additional restrictions on what kinds of ID would be accepted. Read more HERE

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