AFL-CIO to fight voter ID laws in six battleground states


By Kevin Bogardus
The Hill- “Ballot Box”

The nation’s largest labor federation plans to mount an aggressive campaign against voter identification laws in a half-dozen battleground states that will be key in the presidential election.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker told reporters on Tuesday that the labor federation will have boots on the ground registering and helping voters in Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in coordination with the group’s political program.

Labor is pushing back against voter ID laws, which they say suppress voting by minorities, the elderly, the poor and students. Supporters of the measures say showing identification to vote is needed to crack down on fraud and protect the integrity of elections.

Baker said the AFL-CIO would execute its “most aggressive push” yet against the ID laws in 2012.

“This year, we will be running the strongest voter protection program ever. This will be our most aggressive push, and we have never done anything on this scale before because the attacks that we are seeing on the right to vote are unprecedented,” Baker said, calling voter ID laws passed in several states “a modern-day version of a poll tax and a new form of Jim Crow.”

The announcement comes less than a week after the AFL-CIO suffered a huge defeat in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker (R) survived the union-led recall against him.

The AFL-CIO plans to partner in voter-protection efforts with groups like the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Generational Alliance and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

Read more: The Hill