More than 100 civil rights groups marched from the Upper East Side to the headquarters of the United Nations Saturday to call attention to the issue of voting rights. NY1’s Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Protesters marched to the United Nations Saturday and spoke out against what the NAACP calls an aggressive attack against voting rights across the country.
Laws either proposed or adopted in 34 states require prospective voters to provide extensive documentation in order to get a voter ID card.
The protesters likened such laws to poll taxes and other tactics that were once used in the Jim Crow south.
“If successful, these laws would disenfranchise well over five million voters. That's more people than live in Manhattan, Bronx, and, I think, Staten Island put together, and that's not what democracy should be about,” said Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Union leaders, community activists, immigrant groups and elected officials gathered near the headquarters of Koch Industries.
Those at the rally say the Koch brothers, who’ve donated millions to conservative and Tea Party causes, are bankrolling efforts across the United States to change voter identification requirements, bans on the formerly incarcerated and early voting periods.
“In Texas, you can vote with a gun license but not with a school ID, like a University of Texas ID,” said Jesus Gonzalez of Make the Road New York.
Protesters say some of the documents the laws require are difficult and expensive to get, making it harder for immigrants, senior citizens or students.
“This is a cross-racial, cross-cultural initiative to get together to basically protect the voting rights of people of color, of people who've been undermined economically,” said Zead Ramadan of CAIR New York.
Koch Industries says it has a long and steadfast track record of supporting voter registration drives and the civil rights groups that do the same.
The firm says it is being targeted for political reasons.