DETROIT, July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today marks a significant step in the right direction to protect democracy from those who would attempt to shut the door in its face. The Detroit Branch NAACP has been very critical of many of the policies of Governor Rick Snyder as it relates to citizen representation and voter participation throughout this state. While we fervently disagree with his policies on the issue of emergency manager laws, consent agreements imposed upon cities and municipalities and what we believe to be diminishing the right to elect our own political leaders - we applaud the Governor's stand today.
When the Governor of the state, in our view, is wrong - he should be called out. When the governor of our state is right, in our view, he should also be called out. Today, we agree with the Governor as he said, "The bills would have created voter confusion among absentee voters." Further, it is our position that these ill-conceived bills would have led to a reduction in the access to the polls of minorities, students and seniors - increasing voter apathy among the poor. Now is not the time to create hurdles to the polls. Now is the time to build bridges to get to the polls.
"Voting is the most precious and fundamental right we have in a representative Democracy," said Donnell White, Executive Director, Detroit Branch NAACP.
The NAACP noted that SB 754's training requirement for organizations which conduct voter registration had no funds actually allocated for doing the training, had no administrative standards or instructions to local clerks for how and where the trainings would occur, and were therefore bound to cause confusion, having passed the House and Senate on the eve of an election.
"A Bill very similar to SB 754 was recently struck down by a Florida Federal court and we know it would not have passed legal muster in Michigan either," said Atty. Melvin Butch Hollwell, General Counsel, Detroit Branch NAACP. "Here it is just one month before the Primary election, and clerks across the state have received no information about how these Bills would work. It was a recipe for disaster at the polls."
The Detroit Branch NAACP believes these bills created just prior to a national election and in a so-called swing state (Michigan) that could possibly determine the result of the presidential election, were most inappropriate. The NAACP and many other organizations have a long history of voter mobilization and training in the area of voter education. The Detroit Branch NAACP has never believed that it was necessary to create an assault on the right of the voter. We are glad that this assault has, at this time, been stopped in its tracks by the pen of the Governor.
For those who are surprised at this decision, we certainly understand why this might be the case. Let the record reflect, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense."
Thank you, Mr. Governor, for demonstrating some common sense. We hope that it might find a contagious community in which to flourish.
SOURCEDetroit Branch NAACP