The largest civil rights group in America, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is petitioning the UN over what it sees as a concerted efforted to disenfranchise black and Latino voters ahead of next year's presidential election.
The organisation will this week present evidence to the UN high commissioner on human rights of what it contends is a conscious attempt to "block the vote" on the part of state legislatures across the US. Next March the NAACP will send a delegation of legal experts to Geneva to enlist the support of the UN human rights council.
The NAACP contends that the America in the throes of a consciously conceived and orchestrated move to strip black and other ethnic minority groups of the right to vote. William Barber, a member of the association's national board, said it was the "most vicious, co-ordinated and sinister attack to narrow participation in our democracy since the early 20th century".
In its report, Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America, the NAACP explores the voter supression measures taking place particularly in southern and western states.
Fourteen states have passed a total of 25 measures that will unfairly restrict the right to vote, among black and Hispanic voters in particular.
The new measures are focused – not coincidentally, the association insists – in states with the fastest growing black populations (Florida, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina) and Latino populations (South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee). The NAACP sees this as a cynical backlash to a surge in ethnic minority voting evident in 2008.