The NAACP, including the Killeen chapter, is sharply criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“The Killeen Branch NAACP is saddened by the decision of the Supreme Court. However, we will remain vigilant in our fight for voting rights,” TaNeika Driver-Moultrie, Killeen branch NAACP president, said in a news release Wednesday.
The court’s decision frees several states, including Texas, from federal oversight of their election laws.
Under the provision that the court struck down, nine states and the city councils and local governments within them were required to obtain advance approval from Washington before changing their rules on voting and elections, a process known as “preclearance.”
The goal was to end the discriminatory schemes that for a century after the Civil War prevented blacks from registering and voting. More recently, the law was used to ensure that black and Latino votes translate into electoral power.
Despite the court decision, minority leaders vowed to continue fighting for voting rights.
“We will continue to stand as a voice of equality for all and are prepared to execute the directives from our national leaders, (NAACP) Chairman Roslyn Brock and President Ben Jealous,” Driver-Moultrie said in a release. “Until then, we are being proactive by spreading the word to the masses about the election identification certificates that have begun today.”
In the same release, Brock said “the decision has the potential to set voting rights back more than 50 years.”
The court’s decision paves the way for an already approved Texas law to take hold, requiring all voters to have a valid photo ID when they head to the polls.
“Texas Department of Public Safety will begin issuing election identification certificates to individuals who do not already have an acceptable form of photo identification to present when voting,” according to a release from the Killeen NAACP.
Driver-Moultrie said she went to the DPS office in Killeen on Wednesday and verified the office has the EIC forms.
“They are equipped and ready,” she said.
The local NAACP chapter is planning to meet with city and county election officials to see how the change will affect polling procedures and locations, she added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.