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NAACP Opposes Discriminatory Attacks on the Voting Rights of Young Voters by Using Stringent Voter Photo ID Laws and Other Disenfranchising Obstacles

WHEREAS, the 26th Amendment of the United States Constitution lowered the voting age to 18 from 21 and declares the right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age"; and 

WHEREAS, there is an unprecedented effort nationally by some state legislatures to restrict the voting rights by tightening rules for voters, including requirements for photo identification, in the name of preventing fraud; and 

WHEREAS, studies have shown that there is no evidence that widespread voting fraud has been uncovered; and 

WHEREAS, proposals to change voting regulations have frequently affected younger voters, particularly college students, as well as low income communities, racial and ethnic minorities, women, and senior citizens; and 

WHEREAS, young people under 30 cast more than 20 million votes in the 2012 presidential election, accounting for about 15 percent of the total, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement; and 

WHEREAS, in Maine, the Secretary of State investigated 200 students for fraud. After finding no evidence, he sent the students a letter warning them to register their cars in Maine or to cancel their voter registrations; and 

WHEREAS, in Texas, voters must show a photo identification, however a state handgun license qualifies, but a state university identification card does not; and 

WHEREAS, students in North Carolina have also complained of government efforts, separate from the new voting law, to shut down voting sites at Appalachian State University and Winston-Salem State University; and 

WHEREAS, registration sites and polling places which had once been on college and university campuses were moved to places less accessible to students; and 

WHEREAS, under the North Carolina law passed last year, the period for early voting was shortened from 17 to 9 days and same-day registration was eliminated; and, 

WHEREAS, beginning in 2016, voters will need to show photo identification; however, student ID cards, including those issued by state universities, will not be acceptable. In most instances, neither will an out-of-state driver's license; and 

WHEREAS, the North Carolina law also eliminated a program in which teenagers filled out their voter-registration forms early and were automatically registered when they turned 18; and 

WHEREAS, the group of North Carolina students suing the state believe the voter-identification law is intentionally discriminatory. As proof of this intent, they note that the state prohibited the Division of Motor Vehicles from registering 17- years-olds who will turn 18 by Election Day; and 

WHEREAS, in North Carolina, student turnout in 2012 was about 57 percent, among the highest in the country. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP reaffirms its resolution from 2007 NAACP Resolution for Comprehensive Election Reform and calls for a complete elimination of federal and state election laws, policies, and procedures that require stringent voter-identification in order to register or vote; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP supports the usage of college student identification as valid forms of identification in place of a state identification; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP continues to call on all units to identify and fight against these disenfranchising proposal at the local, state and federal level, including stringent voter-identification laws, elimination of pre- registration for 16 and 17 year olds, and any other voter suppression measures.