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On Common Ground News - Voter Groups Rally on National Voter Registration Day

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By Joshua Smith

As Congressman Hank Johnson led supporters through a chorus of Peter, Paul and Mary's Civil Rights classic,

"If I Had a Hammer," and Congressman John Lewis recalled voter suppression in the 1960s, the message was clear: Get out and vote.

"People died for their right, people struggled for their right to vote and there are forces in America today that are trying to make it hard and difficult for people to register to vote," Lewis told a crowd during the National Voter Registration Day at the state Capitol.

The Congressional Black Caucus, voter groups and Civil Rights organizations around the nation used the day, Sept. 26, to collectively rally citizens to register to vote by the Oct. 9 deadline.

The push came as the election cranks up full speed.

Absentee voting is under way now. Mailed ballots must be received by Nov. 2.
Early voting begins at select precincts on Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 2. The General Election is Nov. 6.

The Congressional Black Caucus is fighting voter suppression tactics they say are designed to discourage people from registering and going to the polls.
At least 34 states have introduced laws that would require voters to show photo identification in order to vote and at least 12 states have introduced laws that would require proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate, to register to vote or to vote.

In Georgia, voter ID laws were passed in 2005, making the state one of the earliest adopters of voter suppression techniques.

The states that have cut back on voting rights provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 -- 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.

"Across the country, our Constitutional right to vote is under attack," said Rep. Johnson. "Sweeping new state voter laws -- including an end to same-day registration, cuts to early voting and voter ID laws -- create barriers for millions of voters. Nothing is more fundamental in our democracy than the right to vote. We must reject any attempts to curb citizens' access to the ballot."


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