With the controversy surrounding tough new voter laws in several states, the issue has reached the United Nations.
According to an organization of black conservatives known as Project 21, a delegation from the group recently met with U.N. officials to counter a formal request from the NAACP for an investigation by the world body into U.S. state-level voter ID laws.
The Project 21 delegation comprised Horace Cooper, Deroy Murdock and Council Nedd II. They met June 14 with U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic and human rights officer Giorgia Passarelli of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) at U.N. headquarters in New York City.
According to a Project 21 statement, the delegation made the following points:
• Vote fraud is a danger to a fair electoral process and a threat to the civil and human rights of the American people.
• Ballot integrity protections, including photo ID rules where they exist, were enacted in an open, transparent process by democratically elected representatives.
• Voter ID safeguards have overwhelming bi-partisan public support.
• There are more pressing issues for the United Nations to investigate, including child soldiers, death squads and sex slavery.
Project 21 said it wanted to rebut a claim by NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous, who, according to USA Today, told OHCHR staff in Geneva in March that “in the past 12 months, more U.S. states have passed more laws pushing U.S. citizens out of the ballot box than in any year in the past century.”
Project 21 is arguing that a report which NAACP activists presented to the U.N. contained no proof of any voters losing their voting right under voter ID laws.
“Considering the serious human rights issues that the OHCHR deals with, such as atrocities in Syria and the Congo, I believe they are putting the claims against American voter ID laws in proper perspective,” Nedd said in the statement. “I would say that they saw and are treating the NAACP's request for an investigation of our ballot protections as the political ploy that it is.”
Added Deroy, “There is no human rights violation in democratically passing laws to mandate that American voters prove that they are who they say they are by presenting photo ID at the polls.”
Project 21, which was created in 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research.