Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder are all slated to speak at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual convention this week. The convention will focus on voter registration and equal access before November's general elections.
President Barack Obama, who spoke at the convention in 2008 and 2009, will not appear this year, instead sending his vice president to address the group Thursday morning. Mitt Romney is slated to speak Wednesday evening.
This year's convention, entitled "Your Power, Your Decision - VOTE," will focus on minority voting access and specifically on recent moves made by states to pass bills requiring voters to show official government identification before voting.
The NAACP says the law would discriminate against the poor and elderly who do not have valid driver's licenses or passports.
Attorney General Eric Holder, who addressed the group on Tuesday, said the Justice Department would not allow disenfranchisement to occur under a political guise, adding, "I don't know what will happen as this case moves forward...But I can assure you that the Justice Department's efforts to uphold and enforce voting rights will remain aggressive."
Although Republicans in favor of the bill say any citizen can obtain a valid ID at certain government offices, the NAACP says many poorer or rural-based people would be blocked from obtaining such an ID due to lack of transport or ability to take time off of work.
"These are tough times. Our democracy is literally under attack from within," NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in his keynote speech to the convention on Monday.
He added, "From redistricting battles in states like Georgia, to fighting wholesale takeovers of local government in states like Michigan, to fighting attacks on voter suppression across this country, there is no battle more important to the NAACP right now than the battle to defend democracy in our great nation."
The NAACP Annual Convention in Houston, Texas, began on July 7th and will last through the week.
by RTT Staff Writer
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