Voting Rights Watch: NAACP steps up voter protection efforts

The Associated Press is reporting that the NAACP will have lawyers targeting 750 precincts around the country where there has been a history of voter discrimination on Nov. 4, with plans to address complaints about possible voter disenfranchisement wherever they are made.

The NAACP is already addressing complaints of voter suppression in the lead up to the election. This week the civil rights organization filed a federal complaint, demanding three satellite polling places in Aiken, S.C. that were closed Monday be reopened, reports the Aiken Standard.

The local Aiken chapter of the NAACP has argued that "thousands of people, not just African-Americans and minorities," could be affected by the closures. NAACP attorney Kim Anderson Ray stated that because South Carolina is one of nine states that must seek approval from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to open precincts, they must also seek sanction on any retrogression - according to the tenets of the 1965 Voter Rights Act, reports the Aiken Standard. This means that any action that may make it more difficult for someone to vote must be scrutinized federally.

Voting advocates see the closure as a political move to suppress votes. Democratic Party Chair John Brecht told the Aiken Standard that closing the offices "would be beneficial to the Republican Party," arguing that this is clearly a case of "voter suppression."

This move is "effectively going to suppress the vote of African Americans and minorities," Ray also told the Aiken Standard. "We have asked the Department of Justice to step in."