During the King Day at the Dome rally Monday at the State House, President of the South Carolina Conference of the NAACP Dr. Lonnie Randolph said the rights that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought and died for all Americans are under siege and chastised African-Americans for not exercising their right to vote.
Randolph said several states, including South Carolina, have attempted to pass photo ID laws that would disproportionately disenfranchise minority and elderly voters, as well as college students.
He admonished African-Americans for not doing their part, noting that a record of nearly 68 percent of registered African-American voters turned out for the 2008 election. However, Randolph said 68 percent is not good enough.
Randolph said far too many African-Americans do not exercise their right to vote, noting that the record black voter turnout of 2008 dropped well over 30 percentage points in the midterm elections in 2010. Randolph says minority voters must have the mindset that every election is an important one. He urged people to go back to their communities and work to make sure that every eligible person age 18 and above registers to vote.
In late December, the U.S. Justice Department blocked South Carolina’s controversial new voter identification law, arguing it intentionally discriminates against minority voters. South Carolina officials say the law helps crack down on voter fraud and add they plan to sue the U.S. Justice Department over the Voter ID law.
AUDIO: Randolph calls for greater African-American voter participation