On June 22, 2021, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) sent a letter to urging Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to veto S.B. 224, H.B. 704, and H.B. 138, three restrictive voting bills passed by the state legislature earlier this month. Signing these bills into law would erode the voting rights of Louisianans, especially for the nearly 43% of whom are Black and brown and would be disproportionately impacted by these restrictive bills.
S.B. 224 creates unnecessary burdens on the right to vote for absentee voters by requiring them to write sensitive, personal information on their mail-in ballot. S.B. 224 is written to undermine progress to expand voting rights and ballot access in Louisiana, especially for Black voters and other voters of color, voters with disabilities, elderly voters, and low-income voters. S.B. 224 threatens to improperly invalidate ballots and burden voters who qualify to vote absentee by mail and any early in-person voters who do not have a state I.D. or social security number—disproportionately voters of color, young voters, and naturalized citizens.
H.B. 138 requires the Registrar of Voters execute an arbitrary audit of the voter rolls each year and mandates that registered voters be removed if they are inactive for two federal general election cycles. H.B. 138 is written to undermine the democratic process by creating a new purge of Louisiana’s voter rolls that unnecessarily removes registered votes from the rolls. Currently, the Louisiana Registrar of Voters conducts an annual canvas to verify the names and addresses of registered voters. H.B. 138 would require the Registrar of Voters to expend limited state resources to execute a superfluous supplemental audit of the voter rolls along with the yearly canvas of registered voters.
H.B. 704 empowers state political parties to increase the potential for voter intimidation by appointing poll watchers during early voting and on Election Day. H.B. 704 permits political parties to appoint poll watchers without providing additional guidance or regulation of poll watcher activity. We are currently seeing a historic rise in both active and passive voter intimidation tactics, which often target Black and brown voters. H.B. 704 allows for not only campaign poll watchers but also partisan poll watchers to surveil Louisiana voters.
Read the full letter here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.